Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chaudhary Fawad Hussain Monday said the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) has decided to import 1 lac tons of urea fertilizer to provide relief to farmers.

While briefing on the ECC meeting decisions held here, the information minister said that this year, total demand of urea fertilizer in the country was 5.833 million tons against previous year’s demand of 5.862 million tons.

He said the government would have to pay a subsidy of Rs 960 on each imported urea bag as its retail price in Pakistan was Rs 1615 per bag while imported urea would cost Rs 2,575 per bag.

He said despite strained economic condition, the government has decided not to put extra monetary burden on the farmers.

Chaudhary Fawad informed that the meeting also discussed in detail the matter of gas price.

“In 2013, Sui Northern and Sui Southern Gas Pipe Lines were not in loss even of a single rupee, however during previous five years, total loss of SSGPL and SNGPL surged to over Rs 156 billion mainly due to increase in gas theft,” he added.

He asked former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and former finance minister Ishaq Dar to clarify that how the loss accumulated to Rs 156 billion.

He said only 40 percent population use the Sui gas facility while others rely on cylinder gas.

The minister said the gas related agreements made by the previous government were against the reality.

“We are trying to formulate a comprehensive system to minimize burden on the poor by providing maximum relief to them,” he added.

The information minister said the matter of subsidies would also be presented before Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He said it was also recommended in the meeting to take measures to stop surge in Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) price and cooperation from the provincial governments would also be sought in this regard.

He also asked the provincial governments to launch crackdowns against those involved in hike of LPG prices in the country.

It was also decided in the meeting to provide special protection to the export industry.