The importance of Pakistan’s Fertilizer Industry must be derived as the key input for our Agriculture sector - The driving force behind the national economy. The Agricultural sector generates 24% of the country’s GDP and 65% of foreign exchange earnings through exports, while it provides employment to over 50% of the employed labor force and also ensures food security for the country.

The local fertilizer industry promises a bright future, as its demand in Pakistan is expected to grow by around 4 to 5 percent per annum, in the long run. This essential industry has invested heavily in Pakistan, to install additional capacity for producing surplus urea. Thus, this commodity also offers great potential for exports and foreign-exchange earnings.

Another major challenge for the fertilizer industry is that; it has been subjected to a standard rate of General Sales Tax (GST), like other non-essential industries. Moreover, the recent imposition of a ‘Gas Infrastructure Development Cess’ (GIDC) – has also been highly detrimental. GIDC is a special tax, originally meant for ensuring sufficient gas-supplies. However, the fertilizer sector has not received any tangible relief or assurance, regarding consistent gas supplies, despite bearing the heavy financial burden of GIDC.

MUHAMMAD SAGHEER,

Islamabad, April 15.