ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Industries and Production on Wednesday expressed its concern over inflated prices of urea, and directed the National Fertiliser Marketing Limited (NFML) to play an active role in breaking the “cartelisation” in the industry by importing urea and sell it below domestic rates.
The committee’s meeting, presided over by MNA Asad Umar, was informed by an NFML official that the total landed price of an imported urea bag in Karachi was Rs1,490.
Mr Umar said private manufacturers were fleecing the poor farmers by selling urea at around Rs1,900 per bag whereas the government could help reduce the price by importing urea in bulk.
He said the private producers of the commodity earned Rs30 billion during Rabi season and all this money was paid by the poor farmers.
“Farmers are already under stress due to decrease in prices of different commodities, including rice and cotton,” he said.
Qaisar Ahmed Sheikh, a member of the committee, also endorsed the chairman’s stance and said the committee should recommend the government to allow the NFML to import huge amount of urea in order to help bring down the prices of the commodity.
The meeting was informed that 2.287 million tonnes of urea worth Rs458.844m was sold during the current Rabi season from October 2015 to February 2016, and the total profit remained Rs11.486m.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Pakistan Machine Tools Factory (PMTF) also gave a detailed briefing on its working.
He said his organisation, which had been a profitable entity, was currently facing some financial problems. He urged the National Assembly’s committee to approve Rs2bn to bail out the factory.
Mr Umar said the PMTF had no proper business model, and directed its managing director to come in the next meeting with a historical background of the factory.
The committee was also briefed about the interim report of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the issue of inland freight subsidy on export of sugar in 2012-13.
Committee members Sardar Mansab Ali Dogar, Syed Muhammad Asghar, Qaiser Ahmad Sheikh, Sahibzada Muhammad Nazeer Sultan, Sajida Begum, Maulana Muhammad Gohar Shah, Alhaj Shah Jee Gul Afridi, and Secretary of the Ministry of Industries Arif Azeem also attended.