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Thursday June 30, 2022

Urea shortage feared as gas diverted to power plants

By Our Correspondent
May 02, 2022

LAHORE: Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) has diverted gas supplies of fertilizer plants to power sector, sparking fear of urea shortage in the country. According to a letter dated April 30, 2022, Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) supplies shall be significantly reduced owing to scheduled outage of EETPL (Terminal-I) from May 4 to 7, 2022.

As a result of which and in accordance with decisions taken during various meetings held in Energy Ministry; SNGPL is constrained to discontinue supply of RLNG to both Agritech Ltd & Fatima Fertilizer plants to ensure maximum supply to power sector in order to help overcome the power shortage in the country.

Commenting on the development, farmers’ community decried that government shut down two urea factories on May 1, 2022, at a time when the country was already witnessing shortage and price hike of urea.

This will create havoc for the farmers, said Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) Central President Khalid Mehmood Khokhar Sunday. Urea is already selling at Rs2350 per bag to the farmers. This is Rs400 per bag above the maximum retail price. This black- marketing is happening due to existing shortage of urea, PKI leader regretted.

Farmers of Pakistan paid around Rs50 billion extra due to lingering shortage of urea from November 2021 to-date. This is due to average Rs500 per bag black-marketing of urea in the country. Urea market prices will jump to over Rs3000 per bag instead of MRP Rs1950 per bag. Black-marketing will rule and farmers will be made to suffer as a result of this severe cruelty of closing down fertilizer factories.

In any country, food security is given top priority. When Pakistan was sanctioned in 1998, people did not starve because the country could produce its own food. Same is true for other countries where even wars do not starve people - if they have ability to produce their own food, PKI leader said.

By shutting down urea plants, the government is shutting down the ability of the country to produce its own food. And making Pakistan dependent on other countries for feeding the people, he said, adding the government should immediately re-start all urea factories. This is in the interest of preventing starvation in the country at a time of global conflict.

Also, this will ensure Pakistan can produce enough raw material for boosting exports through crops such as cotton, rice and maize. Self-reliance must be ensured for Pakistan in addition to food security. Urea plants must be re-started immediately, he concluded.

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