Russia-Ukraine war has caused fertilizer shortages



ISLAMABAD: The Minister for Commerce, Naveed Qamar Monday admitted that there is a shortage of fertilizer in the country due to the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war, for which the commodity is being imported from China to fulfil the domestic demand.

Responding to a point of order raised by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) dissident Sher Waseer, the minister said that the fertilizer was being imported from China through the Trading Commission of Pakistan (TCP) and it would be available in sufficient quantity in the country to meet the growers’ need.

At the same time, he also urged the provincial governments to take notice of the artificial shortage of fertiliser in the country and ensure the supply of available urea bags to the farmers preparing their fields for rice crop.

He said there was no doubt that the world was witnessing a shortage of different commodities including wheat, edible oil, and fertiliser, but in Pakistan domestic supply is available, but an environment of shortage of fertilizer is being created.

He asked the provincial governments to provide fertiliser to farmers from the locally-available stocks as in the meantime the imported commodity would start arriving through cargoes.

The PTI dissident said that the Punjab farming community was facing an acute shortage of fertiliser across the province, adding per urea bag was being sold at the rate of Rs2,700 against the controlled price of Rs1800.

“Each farmer is given one or two bags of urea that are extremely insufficient. It can affect the rice crop if timely remedial measures are not taken,” he added.

Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq informed the house that the government was going to install trackers on the trucks supplying different commodities such as fertilizer and wheat and ensure geo-fencing of each urea bag to prevent its hoarding and smuggling.

He appreciated the efforts of the Minister for Industries and Production for extending Pakistan’s GSP-Plus status by the European Union, adding there would be good result in that regard, besides ensuring a sufficient supply of edible oil from Malaysia at a reasonable price.

Sadiq regretted the re-return of the bill related to electoral reforms by President Dr Arif Alvi with certain objections, adding the electronic voting machines could not be used in elections without their try and test.

He was of the view that as per the constitutional provision, after the bill’s re-return, the National Assembly Secretariat would notify it now.

According to article 75 (2) of the Constitution “When the President has returned a Bill to the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), it shall be reconsidered by the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) in joint sitting and, if it is again passed, with or without amendment, by the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), by the votes of the majority of the members of both Houses present and voting, it shall be deemed for the purposes of the Constitution to have been passed by both Houses and shall be presented to the President, and the President shall give his assent within ten days, failing which such assent shall be deemed to have been given.”

The minister criticized the previous government of the PTI for taking excessive loans and ruining the national economy with its wrong policies, mentioning that from 1947to 2018 Pakistan got Rs27,000 billion loans, while the PTI government alone took around Rs24,000 billion loans.

Sadiq called upon the house to direct the incumbent government for taking notice of former prime minister Imran Khan’s recent statement about the country’s disintegration, armed forces and strategic assets, by starting legal proceedings against him.

Meanwhile, taking part in the debate for budget 2022-23, Hussain Elahi of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) lambasted the government, and said that “your conscience work quite well when you are in opposition, but it is instantly dead when you are at treasury benches”.

He said that the long march which the PPP and the PML-N used to take to Islamabad from Karachi and Lahore, respectively, there were not blocked, but when Imran Khan took out a rally, it had to face police highhandedness which was appalling.

Tahira Bukhari, Aliya Kamran, Yousaf Talpur, Muhammad Anwer, and others also took part in the budget debate.

Meanwhile, the house adopted a motion allowing use of the National Assembly hall on June 21, 2022, or any other day or date for briefing for the parliamentary committee on National Security.

The motion was moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi.