ISLAMABAD - The government on Tuesday decided to import urea to hedge the country from global supply disruptions and higher prices amidst Ukraine crisis.

In this regard, the Ministry of Industries and Production will present a summary in next meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar chaired the fertilizer review meeting which discussed the domestic production and demand of fertilizers for next 2022 Kharif season.

After due deliberations, the forum decided to maintain 200,000 tonne urea inventory in current month on a pro-rata basis by manufacturers, and, the carrying cost of inventory loss of manufacturing companies will be built in the government’s next controlled prices of urea. It was told in the meeting the carrying cost of each urea bag is worth between Rs2 and Rs3. The chair also directed the Ministry of Industries to submit the summary of gas supplies from April to June 2022 to northern urea plants in next economic coordination committee.

Speaking to the meeting, Minister Khusro Bakhtyar said that the government had geared up to ensure smooth, adequate and timely supply of key soil nutrients to farmers in upcoming Kharif season and the decisions had been made accordingly. “Like the previous year, the domestic production of urea will be maintained to fulfill the requirements of urea,” he added.

The Minister also directed all the provincial agriculture departments to prepare a district-wise supplies plan as per agronomic demands for next the Kharif season. Federal Minister for Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam joined the meeting through media link.

The representative of fertilizers manufacturing industry and officials of provincial agriculture departments attended the meeting. Earlier, in January this year, the ECC of the federal cabinet had allowed the import of urea and rationalisation of tariff on import of vehicles and other items. The ECC had allowed import of 50,000 metric tonnes of urea on immediate basis subject to clearance from the PSQCA.

The TCP was also tasked with negotiating price with Chinese supplier authorised by the Government of China for further import of urea. The Ministry of Industries and Production had recommended the ECC to import 0.1 million metric tonnes of urea from China. The ECC, however, allowed the import of only 50,000 metric tonnes of urea. According to the ministry, there is an ample amount of urea available for Rabi season as the government has arranged for additional production of 225,000 metric tonnes by extending the operations of northern plants and FFBL till February. In addition to these measures, the government is importing urea for maintaining buffer stocks of urea.