Fertilizer industry, a development partner

1609

DESPITE various odds, the fertilizer industry of Pakistan has all along strived to contribute its share in promotion of agriculture, self-sufficiency in food, import substitution, saving of precious foreign exchange and facilitate farmers. It is promising that investment worth billions of dollars has been made to increase local production of fertilizer especially Urea and fertilizer is provided on subsidized rates to provide relief to the farming community, which is also helping in bringing down the overall cost of agricultural input.
The role being played by the fertilizer industry in overall agricultural development, national economy and GDP necessitates positive interventions by the Government to address concerns and problems of the industry on a priority basis. This is because the industry has kept the interests of the country’s farmers at top priority through provision of quality products and related services. Historically, domestic Urea has been sold at a much lower price than imported Urea, thus resulting in a total advantage of nearly Rs 527/- billion to Pakistan’s farmers as well as saving of about two billion dollars worth of foreign exchange annually. One can visualize the significance of the fertilizer industry by the fact that it has 7th largest production capacity in the world, which is sufficient to meet domestic needs provided due facilitation is extended to it. Therefore, there is need that FMPAC – Fertilizer Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council and its constituents Fauji Fertilizer Company (FFC), Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim Limited (FFBL), Engro Fertilizer Limited, Fatima Fertilizer Ltd., Pakarab Fertilizer, Agritech Ltd should be taken on board while deciding crucial policies and actions. It may be pointed out that the gas price has almost doubled for domestic industry on imposition of GIDC but the industry has not passed on the impact fully to the end consumer. It was because of this that the FMPAC had urged the Government to review the decision of withdrawing GIDC Ordinance as the fertilizer sector would end up bearing a loss of Rs. 4 billion. As the Government is claiming of taking measures to ensure ease of doing business, it is hoped that it would hold a dialogue with the representatives of the industry to discuss its concerns and issues and take urgent measures to resolve them because of the contribution it is making in ensuring food security for Pakistan.