KARACHI: The federal government has assured the fertiliser industry that it would release the subsidy of Rs9 billion within a week.
The understanding was reached in a meeting between Fertilisers Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC) Executive Director Sher Shah and newly appointed Federal Secretary of the Ministry of National Food Security & Research Fazal Abbas Maken.
The secretary promised that the government will release the available funds within a week, according to a FMPAC press release.
The fertiliser industry has been urging the government to release subsidy to resolve cash flow problems faced on account of significant delays in disbursement of the subsidy.
The secretary was apprised of the issues related to subsidy payments causing cash flow challenges to the industry.
During the meeting, the secretary reiterated the government’s commitment to the industry. He said the government would fulfil its commitments and assured the fertiliser industry of facilitation in future payments and also settling the huge pending claims at the earliest.
For the remaining amounts of pending subsidy claims, the ministry is conducting a third-party validation, which reflects the government’s commitment and efforts to resolve the subsidy crisis that has been creating serious financial challenges for the fertiliser industry.
The stakeholders of the sector are optimistic that this concrete effort by the new federal secretary will prove to be a significant step, and will bring an end to their financial hardships.
The fertiliser industry believes that the subsidy on urea promises many economic benefits to the agriculture sector.
Earlier, Secretary to Prime Minister Fawad Hassan Fawad had chaired a meeting on July 24, to resolve the crisis; however, the direction of the PM office has yet to come in to effect. While the Ministry of Finance has issued the requisite notification for subsidy in 2017-18, the funds are yet to be released.
Over the past couple of years, the government has granted a subsidy on fertilisers. The urea manufacturers had agreed to participate as an intermediary and facilitator for delivering this valuable incentive to the common farmer.
Industry officials say now that the fertiliser companies have sold large volumes of fertilisers at discounted prices, and the government must expedite the overdue payments by simplifying the validation process of the subsidy claims.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2017.