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Urea subsidy, BISP: Federal govt trying to wean itself away

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Finance Ministry, which is actively engaged with the provinces under the umbrella of the Special Investment Council (SIFC) on different issues, is set to get rid of urea subsidy and Benazir Income Support Fund (BISP), as policy matters can be addressed by the caretaker administration subject to concurrence/ approval from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), sources close to Secretary Finance told republic policy.

Secretary Finance ImdadUllah Bosal, at a recent meeting with provincial Secretaries of Finance, stated in plain words that since these subjects are devolved to provinces, they are now their responsibility.

Federal Secretary Industries & Production briefed the participants on urea subsidy and that the country’s minimum annual requirement of urea was 200,000 Mts, which costs around US$ 82 million.

He stated that the federal government needed to be in a position to offer subsidies on urea, adding that since agriculture was a provincial subject, the subsidy bill must be borne 100% by provinces.

He further informed the participants that there was an urgent requirement to order urea for the next season. Provinces needed to intimate their requirement of urea and pay the subsidy. The matter had often been taken up with areas, but they needed to be clearer.

Secretary Finance Sindh Kazim Hussain Jatoi stated that a summary with the proposal for sharing 100% subsidy on urea during CFY and 50% for the previous FY has been initiated and submitted to Chief Minister Sindh by the agriculture department. However, he pointed out that Sindh was not consulted regarding the import requirement of urea last year.

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