July 17, 2014
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met with a delegation led by Arif Habib CEO of Fatima Fertilisers at the Finance Ministry, here on Wednesday and discussed issues related to the fertiliser industry in Pakistan. Arif Habib briefed the Finance Minister on issues related to the fertiliser industry. He argued that the local fertiliser industry is critical to Pakistan due to agrarian economy and it is the most efficient industry in gas utilization.
He disclosed that the local industry is providing timely fertilizer to farmers between 30 percent to 50 percent below the import price. He said that due to gas shortages/curtailment the local production is below demand and due to which a huge amount of foreign exchange is being spent on expensive imports to bridge the gap between demand and supply.
He informed the participants of the meeting that if the required gas is provided the industry can not only fulfil local demand but also export fertilizer in order to earn foreign exchange. He urged that the SNGPL should be directed to fulfil its commitment to provide gas to fertilizer industry. He also demanded allocation of unutilised gas and gas from new discoveries to the fertilizer industry which is vital for agriculture growth in the country.
Finance Minister said that field wise status of gas supply must be evaluated and if there is additional gas which is not being utilised then a cost-benefit analysis of bringing that gas into the system and supply to fertilizer industry should be explored. He said that due to peak demand of electricity in summer season, priority is given to the energy sector and the government is moving on to the coal powered energy plants which will balance the energy mix in future.
He said that the government is working on a strategy to enhance exploration of hydrocarbons and if anyone has an out of the box solutions to meet the growing natural gas demands the government will give serious thoughts to it. He, however, assured the delegation that the government will work for facilitating fertilizer industry in order to provide quality fertilizer at economical rates to farmers. He said that the strategy of agriculture credit and provision of inputs at less costs will benefit farmers and lead to spur growth in this sector.
The meeting was also attended by Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif, Finance Secretary, Dr Waqar Masood, Secretary Petroleum and Natural Resources, Abid Saeed, Advisor to the Finance Ministry, Rana Assad Amin, Additional Finance Secretary/Special Assistant to Finance Minister, Shahid Mahmood and senior officials of the Finance Ministry.