LAHORE - Four urea plants located on SNGPL and one unit on SSGC network have been the worst hit plants during last fiscal year. Out of those five plants, Agritech and DH Fertilizers have now started production after remaining shut for a long time.
Fertilizer industry representatives said on the average, general industry received 50 per cent gas on full load basis while fertilizer sector received less than 20 per cent gas on 75 per cent load basis. They strongly urged the ministry to take notice of this discriminatory treatment being faced by industry.
They said that apart from SNGPL network based plants, SSGC based FFBL also remained shut down for 30 days in January and February 2013 alone due to complete closure of gas by SSGC.
They said that on average FFBL faced 50 per cent gas curtailment in just first 60 days of 2013. This may be pertinent to mention that SSGC is observing CNG holiday on its network for one day only.
It is critical that gas supply be resumed to all the plants on urgent and permanent basis for them to remain viable for longer run. They said that both economic and social adverse impacts will be irreparable if current gas suspension continues, as SNGPL based plants may have to shut down their business permanently causing huge financial losses to these companies beside bank default, rendering highly trained and specialized manpower jobless etc.
They appreciating the alternative long-term solution for four SNGPL based fertilizer plants said that the Consortium of these four plants is engaged in hectic activities after the approval of long term arrangement was conveyed to them by Ministry but even with full fast track efforts; the long-term arrangement will not be completed before March 2014. Hence, next 12 months will be crucial for fertilizer industry. They pleaded Prime Minister to instruct SNGPL for full and immediate resumption of gas to most deprived SNGPL based fertilizer plants. They said that government should realize that a commodity in which we are self sufficient, why should country waste its foreign reserves on importing the same?
In the recent revised gas allocation priority, fertilizer industry though most downgraded, is now bracketed with industry at No. 3 behind domestic and power sector. Yet industries in general continue to get gas while fertilizer industry is deprived of this basic raw material for producing much required urea for the agriculture sector. Even CNG sector, which is last on priority list, continue to get Gas.