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Monday June 17, 2024

Government warns of intervention over ‘unilateral’ urea price hike

By Israr Khan
April 28, 2024
This representational image shows a man holding urea in his hand. — Pexels
This representational image shows a man holding urea in his hand. — Pexels

ISLAMABAD: The government has issued a warning to a fertiliser manufacturer, demanding justification for a recent hike in urea prices, despite no corresponding rise in input costs.

To this effect, the Ministry of Industries and Production has written a letter to the Fatima Fertilizer Limited's Chief Executive, a copy of which is available with The News.

The letter states, “The input cost (i.e. gas price) of sarsabz urea has not been increased. However, the company has increased its sale price by Rs561 per bag with effect from 23rd April 2024.

“It is therefore requested to provide cogent reasons for the increase in the sale price, failing which, the ministry may initiate a price-fixing regime under the relevant policies and laws,” it warns.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Rana Tanveer Hussain denounced the unilateral price surge of Sarsabz Urea fertilizer by Fatima Fertilizer Limited. Expressing profound dismay over the Rs561 increase per urea bag, Hussain urged the fertilizer company to retract this unapproved escalation.

Hussain emphasized the necessity for the fertilizer company to furnish compelling justifications for abrupt price hikes of Sarsabz Urea. He underscored that there has been no concurrent rise in gas prices for the fertilizer industry. Consequently, he deemed any elevation in the urea fertilizer price sans a commensurate gas price increase as unwarranted and inequitable.

In the absence of substantial justifications, the Minister warned of the Ministry of Industry and Production's intervention to set prices in accordance with prevailing laws.

Hussain reaffirmed the government's steadfast commitment to safeguarding farmers' interests and maintaining fertilizer price stability.

Moreover, he disclosed ongoing collaborative efforts with provinces to combat fertilizer hoarding, alongside the development of mechanisms to monitor real-time fertilizer stock availability nationwide.

Hussain also stressed the imperative for fertilizer companies to enhance farmer productivity across the country by providing requisite facilities.