ISLAMABAD – Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Monday directed Ministry of National Food Security and Research to ensure uninterrupted supplies of fertiliser to the farmers as per direction of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The finance minister gave these directions while chairing a meeting here at the Finance Division to review the demand and supply situation of fertiliser in the country during the current sowing season after the much awaited rainy spell. Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbassi also attended the meeting.
The meeting reviewed the situation after the prime minister restored subsidy on urea. The government had restored the subsidy on fertiliser within 72 hours after the Ministry of National Food Security and Research announced its withdraw.
Earlier, the government withdrew the cash subsidy on fertiliser sales, which was announced in the budget for ongoing financial year 2016-17. The government had given subsidy worth Rs390 billion on urea, including cash subsidy of Rs156 billion, reduction in GST worth Rs184 billion and price reduction of Rs50 by the manufacturers.
The price of urea had been reduced to Rs1,400 from Rs1,790 per bag following the announcement of the subsidy.
The government, in a recent decision, withdrew the cash subsidy. However, it has not ended the general sales tax (GST) subsidy which would remain at 5 percent against the standard rate of 17 percent. The government had also withdrawn the cash subsidy of Rs300 per bag on DAP fertiliser. Later, due to the pressure of opposition political parties and farmers, the government restored the subsidy.
The Industries secretary and National Food and Security secretary gave a detailed briefing to the participants on the current situation of the available stocks of local and imported fertilisers available in the country. It was informed that besides locally produced stocks there is an additional stock of around 250,000 metric tons of imported urea available at a subsidised price of 1200 per bag to benefit the farmers. It was stated during the meeting that the recent country wide rains will have a positive impact on the Rabi crop and it will enhance the fertiliser demand.
During the meeting, the finance minister expressed satisfaction over the available stocks of fertilisers in the country. The meeting was attended by the Finance secretary, senior officials of the Ministries of Finance, Petroleum and Natural Resources, National Food Security & Research, Industries and Production.