KARACHI - National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Commerce on Friday directed the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to devise a comprehensive mechanism so that maximum benefit of subsidies on import of wheat and fertilizers could be provided to public, particularly the farmers. 

The NA body met here with its chairman Raza Rabani Khar. Committee members, including Shaista Pervaiz Malik, Wajiha Qamar, Shahza Fatima, Usman Ibrahim and Rasheed Ahmed Khan as well as officials of the Ministry of Commerce and the TCP were present. The standing committee directed the TCP management to submit a comprehensive plan to ensure timely response by the corporation in emerging situations and provision of maximum benefit of import of wheat, sugar and urea fertilizer to consumers. 

Raza Rabani Khar assured that the standing committee would coordinate with all the relevant ministries and government organisations for resolving the issues at the earliest. 

There were several complaints about the quality of imported wheat and sugar in the past, the committee members noted and recommended that quality standards and a fool proof mechanism must be in place to maintain quality of imported commodities at all stages from procurement to supply to end user. 

TCP Chairman Rafeo Bashir Shah briefed the committee in detail about mandate and scope, performance, and market operations of the corporation as well as the issues being faced by it and the way forward.  He said that the TCP imported wheat, sugar and urea fertilizer on directives of federal government for market stabilisation in emergent conditions. 

“TCP is a public sector company fully owned by the federal government through the ministry of commerce. Its paid up capital was Rs1 billion as on June 30, 2021 while its after tax profit was Rs1.517 billion for FY 2020-21,” he informed. 

Besides commodity import, the TCP also conducted rice inspection and certification for G.I. and authenticity for brown rice, local cotton procurement for market stabilisation and real estate management, he added. 

The TCP chairman said that the company had imported 0.986 million metric tonnes (MMT) of wheat this year from Romania, Bulgaria, France and Russia. 

However, after recent heavy rains and floods the government had directed it to import additional 1.6 MMT of wheat to meet domestic needs. 

The TCP, on recommendations of the Ministry of Industries and Production, had imported 0.1 MMT urea in January and February this year from China and contracts were also finalised for import of 0.2 MMT urea in September and October. The Ministry of Industries recently intimated for importing additional 0.3 MMT urea, he briefed. 

The matter of import of 0.1 MMT DAP fertilizer was in process as well, he said, adding that TCP could play a major role in market stabilisation of commodities through timely intervention especially commodities which were not subsidised like DAP. 

He sought the NA body’s assistance for payment of outstanding debt on Utility Stores Corporation, National Fertilizer Marketing Limited and for streamlining of TCP operations and swift response to government requirements particularly in grant of permission for pre-qualification of international commodity supply companies and exemption or relaxation of certain PPRA rules.