Food ministry constitutes biased committee to investigate monopoly at DPP

-DPP has not granted import registration for methyl bromide to any other company except National Chemical Limited since 2012

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Food Security and Research (MoFS&R), which was asked to break the monopoly of a private firm at the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) by Prime Minister Imran Khan has instead constituted a biased committee in its bid to protect the one company rule at DPP.

The prime minister, after noticing the monopoly of National Chemical Limited for the import of methyl bromide at DPP, had directed MoFS&R to take action against those responsible in maintaining monopoly of the private firm for years despite reservations and complaints of exporters, importers and trade bodies.

DPP has not granted import registration for methyl bromide to any other company except National Chemical Limited since 2012 .

However, the ministry, instead of resolving the issue, has constituted a committee of those officials, who have allegedly been beneficiary of the one company rule at DPP. 

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The committee is mandated to inquire and give its recommendations on the controversy over import of methyl bromide and the monopoly that exists in this sphere for immediate redressal of the situation and follow up to fix responsibility for any wrongdoing that may have occurred in the past.

Rashid Mehmood, who is the head of the committee claimed that the committee is inquiring the matter in detail and it would submit its findings to the MoFS&R secretary. 

Apart from the inquiry committee, MoFS&R interestingly in another apparent move to deceive the prime minister, has advertised registration of new companies for import of methyl bromide despite the fact that the influential group at DPP is not allowing some 50 existing companies to import methyl bromide. 

According to sources, National Chemical Limited possesses exclusive dealerships of two major global suppliers of the chemical. There are four major suppliers of methyl bromide in the world out of which Pakistan can import from only two, which gives the company a complete monopoly.

Since the DPP and MoFS&R have not changed the rule related to suppliers’ mandatory dealership, the registration of new firms/companies would not break the existing monopoly of National Chemical Limited. 

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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