The government has decided in principle to provide uninterrupted gas supply to two Punjab-based fertiliser plants – Fatima and Agritech – on Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) network over the coming months to ensure sufficient local fertiliser production.
The decision to this effect was reached at a meeting presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin to review the supply and stocks of urea fertilisers.
According to an official statement, Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, SAPM on Food Security Jamshed Cheema and secretaries of Finance, Industries and Production and Petroleum Division also attended the meeting.
Pakistan needs about 6.2 million tonnes of fertiliser for the current crop and production would be about 6.4 million tonnes, said a senior government official. However, this production would be possible only through maximum utilisation of two Punjab-based fertiliser plants, another official said, adding that the government was giving full attention to agriculture sector given substantial foreign exchange loss last year on imports and wanted to ensure maximum crop output.
The Industries and Production secretary made a detailed presentation about production of urea fertiliser and also updated about the sufficient stock of fertiliser to cater to requirements in the upcoming sowing season.
Mr Tarin reiterated the firm commitment of the government to facilitate poor farmers by providing them timely inputs in order to boost agricultural productivity. The key focus is to revitalise agriculture sector of Pakistan by stimulating rural productivity and farm income, he added.
The statement also quoted the energy minister affirming full support and cooperation in provision of required inputs to the fertiliser plants, keeping in view, the overall position of stocks.
The matters relating to subsidies, arrangements for gas supply and payment mechanism in line with fertiliser requirements would be settled through further consultations, an official said. The parties concerned were asked to ensure maximum gas supply to fertiliser plants before the winter sets in when the gas demand in residential sector would increase.