Fatima Fertilizer on Wednesday sought additional gas supply from the government in order to enhance its production.
Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar met with a delegation led by Arif Habib CEO of Fatima Fertilizers at the Finance Ministry, to discuss issues related to the fertilizer industry in Pakistan.
Arif Habib briefed the Finance Minister on issues related to the fertilizer industry. He informed that the local fertilizer industry is critical to Pakistan due to agrarian economy and it is the most efficient industry in gas utilisation. He disclosed that the local industry is providing timely fertilizer to farmers between 30pc to 50pc below import price. He said that due to gas shortages/ curtailment the local production is below demand and due to this huge foreign exchange is being spent on expensive imports to bridge gap between demand and supply.
He informed the participants of the meeting that if enough gas is provided the industry cannot only fulfill local demand but also export fertilizer in order to earn foreign exchange. He urged that the SNGPL should be directed to fulfill its commitment to provide gas to fertilizer industry. He also demanded for 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 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 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 less costs to the farmers. He said that the strategy of agriculture credit and provision of inputs at less costs will benefit the farmers and lead to 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/SA to Finance Minister, Shahid Mahmood and senior officials of the Finance Ministry.