- Razaq Dawood says govt withstood the pressure from fertiliser industry and only made a nominal hike
- Says in order to facilitate the farmers, govt will provide Rs1bn subsidy on the import of fertilisers
ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood said on Thursday that despite strong pressure from the fertiliser industry, the government has increased the price of fertiliser only by Rs10 per bag.
Addressing a press conference, the adviser said that both sides (government and industry) had reached a consensus on the price increase issue.
Talking about the arguments presented by the fertiliser industry in favour of the increase, Dawood said that the main reasons included increase in the cost of production owing to high prices of utilities, devaluation of Pak rupee against US dollar that made the imports expensive, an increase in the salary of the employees as stipulated in the finance bill, and budgetary measures that resulted in increasing the transportation cost.
“We listened to them, but the government had made its calculations too. We did not allow them to increase the prices on account of these heads only, and presented our part of the story regarding Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC), which led to an increase of Rs10 only,” he added.
On a query, he said the dealers are not in the government’s control, however, there are some measures in place to stop unjustified hikes in prices.
Dawood said that heads of various departments in his ministry (Industries and Production) would be appointed soon.
Admitting the unwanted delay in appointments of the heads of key institutions, the adviser said that the chief executive officer of the Engineer Development Board would be appointed next month.
The PM’s aide informed that there was a sufficient stock of Urea available in the country to cater to the demands for Kharif season.
Replying to a question, he said that government would provide relief to farmers by ensuring the availability of agriculture inputs, including fertilisers, on affordable prices.
“The government will provide Rs1 billion subsidy on the import of fertilisers to facilitate the farmers and to promote the agriculture sector,” he maintained. “About 100,000 tonnes of fertiliser will be imported to overcome the shortage in the local market while efforts will be made to contain its prices.”
The adviser reiterated that the current government is cognizant of the problems being faced by the farmers.
He noted that the agriculture sector is playing a significant role in promoting the economy of the country, besides creating employment opportunities for more than half of the country’s population.
Dawood urged the public and private sectors to enhance mutual cooperation in order to achieve the envisioned economic goals of the incumbent government.
On another question regarding Prime Minister Imran Khan’s upcoming visit to the United States (US), Razak Dawood said that he himself would accompany the PM to participate in bilateral negotiations between the two countries.
He said that negotiations on different subjects, including trade, investment and security issues, would be held between the two countries.
The adviser said that Pakistan would highlight its trade and investment framework so as to identify more avenues for bilateral trade.
He said he would also meet the US secretary for trade to explore potential sectors for future collaborations.