Three fertilizer units are on brink of default
Fertilizer Manufacturers Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC) Executive Director Shahab Khawaja said this while talking to reporters at an iftar reception given to the members of Agriculture Journalists Association (AJA). Fatima Fertilizerís Director Marketing Muhammad Zahir, Dawood Hercules Limited (DHL) Fertilizerís Senior General Manager Nadeem Tariq and Agritechís Faisal Muzzamil were also present.
Representatives of fertilizer companies claimed that three fertilizer units are already on the brink of default while the sector has four times renegotiated its loan with the banks. The workers of these plants have to bear the brunt of government policies in the shape of lay offs. Agritech, one of the oldest fertilizer plants, has already filed petition in labor court to lay off their workers force of 3000 and other plants will also be forced if situation does not improve, they added.
Shahab Khawaja discussed in detail issues relating to fertilizer sector on behalf of newly established representative body of fertilizer plants in Pakistan. He said fertilizer sector had become the biggest victim of flawed gas distribution policy, saying discriminatory policy of gas distribution to various sectors of economy caused a severe blow to urea manufacturing plants besides rendering thousands workers jobless.
He said that farmers also had to pay heavy price of unwarranted closure of fertilizer plants. In the last 18 months, he revealed, farming community braved additional burden of Rs. 53 billion on account of only one input i.e. urea fertilizer.
According to him, the fertilizer industry that had been set up several years back are facing dismal future as manufacturing process came to standstill due to natural gas. Current installed capacity of 6.9 million tons per annum is sufficient to meet domestic demand of urea. We are blessed with the ability to not only produce sufficient urea for domestic use but a handsome quantity could be exported. Presently, Pakistan is ranked 7th in the world in urea manufacturing capacity.