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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday directed authorities concerned not to show any leniency towards the elements involved in profiteering and hoarding.
The prime minister, chairing a high-level follow-up meeting to review supply and demand of fertilizer in the country, said the hoarding of fertilizer could adversely affect the crop production for Rabi season. He also instructed to ensure the supply of fertilizer to the farmers.
The prime minister said that PTI government had introduced farmer-friendly policies for the first time in the country’s history as were the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. He directed for launching an effective public awareness campaign to dispel reports about urea shortage.
The meeting was informed that an average fertilizer supply of 19,000 metric tons per day was ensured during last week and an additional 1,000 MT/day has been added. It was informed that federal cabinet has approved the import of 100,000 MT of urea from China at almost half price from the current international market rate.
Regarding the anti-smuggling measures, it was informed that 92,845 bags of urea have been confiscated by provincial governments of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, that were being smuggled. A dedicated monitoring cell in the Ministry of Industries is monitoring the fertilizer situation that has helped in urea tracing and price control.
Federal ministers Shaukat Fayaz Tareen, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and Syed Fakhar Imam, Minister of State Farrukh Habib, SAPM Dr Shehbaz Gill, executives from fertilizer manufacturing companies and senior officers attended the meeting. Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa joined via video link.
Fertilizer review committee
Earlier today, the fertilizer review committee meeting presided by Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar and Federal Minister for Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam presided apprised of urea availability, daily supplies status and local production of urea in the country.
It was noted that volume of urea supplies had been increased to 440,000 urea bags from 342,000 bags on daily basis during last week in keeping the demand of urea in view. It was also briefed that timely actions by government have made a significant reduction in urea prices in recent week which has been declined to Rs1850 close to the prescribed level of Rs1,768/ bag as reported by PBS data.
Provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa has issued SOPs for DCOs for supply of urea from over-supplied areas to deficient areas removing the inter-district anomalies.
In order to curb hoarding and profiteering, the Government of Punjab has identified dealers engaged in malpractices and forwarded the cases to FMPAC for punitive actions. Law enforcement agencies have also seized 65,229 bags urea from provincial cross-border smuggling.
After extensive deliberations, it was decided to increase urea supplies to South Punjab and Sindh to meet the daily requirements. In addition to urea, the supply of Kane (substitute of urea) would also be increased by 2500-2600 MT on daily basis.
The minister urged the Pakistan Kissan Ittehad to educate farmers about actual facts on urea availability so that farmers do not indulge in panic buying.