Senate’s Standing Committee on NFS&R’s meeting : ‘Gas supply to fertilizer sector to resume by March’

* Senate body recommends govt to increase annual budget of Ministry of NFS&R, ensure fertilizer supply, abolish GST imposed on tractor industry
Senate’s Standing Committee on NFS&R’s meeting :  ‘Gas supply to fertilizer sector to resume by March’

ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research on Thursday was informed that the gas supply to fertilizer sector would resume on March 1 and there would be no shortage of fertilizer during this Kharif season.
This was told by Federal Ministry for National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan while briefing the committee. He said the fertilizer plants which were shut after government suspended gas supply to them will start operation in March and then there would no shortage of fertilizer in the country. 
The Senate body also recommended the government to increase annual budget of Ministry of National Food Security and Research, ensure fertilizer supply especially Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP) and Nitrophase as well as abolish general sales tax (GST) imposed on tractor industry.
“The imposition of GST on tractor industry will adversely affect local tractor manufacturers and farmers therefore the government needs to abolish it,” said Senator Muzafar Hussain Shah while presiding over the meeting.
The meeting was also attended by Muhammad Zafar Ullah Khan Dhandla, Nuzhat Sadiq, Bosan, NFS&R Secretary Seerat Asghar, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) President Ihsan Ullah Khan, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Dr Iftikhar Ahmad and other senior officials.
Bosan told the committee that imposition of GST on tractor industry is badly affecting the local manufacture. He informed the committee that Millat Tractors Limited (MTL) has almost stopped manufacturing trackers. The minister said that now farmers are not able to purchase tractors due to imposition of GST on tractor industry therefore the government should be recommended to exempt tractor manufacturers from GST.
Asghar told the committee that the ministry has forwarded Plant Breeder Rights bill to the Cabinet Division for promulgation as an ordinance and committee will be informed about the decision of the Cabinet Division.
About increase in limits of loan to farmers by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and ZTBL, the committee was informed that the SBP has enhanced the limit of loan but no notification has been issued in this regard.
Asghar said that the total requirement of cotton seed in the country is 40,000 metric tonnes while presently 20,000 metric tonnes certified cotton seed is available.
Bosan told the committee that MNH886 a variety of Bt cotton, which was cultivated over a large area in Punjab during last year, shows good results. Punjab Seed Council has approved 15 new verities of Bt cotton but National Bio Safety is yet to clear the new verities.
He said that last year illegal cotton seed was used extensively in Punjab due to which per acre production decreased badly. The committee issued directives to ensure availability of certified seed to farmers this year.
About the closure of National Fertilizer Companies (NFCs) due to corruption, the minister said that the government has not yet taken any decision in this regard. However, he said that he had recommended the government to stop supply of fertilizer through NFCs and companies should lift fertilizers as per their share from the port. In case of shortage of fertilizer the particular company should be held responsible, he said.

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