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Meeting of the Standing Committee on Commerce

Islamabad: A meeting of the Standing Committee on Commerce was held on 15th December, 2011 at 02:00 am in the Committee Room No.07, Parliamentary House, Islamabad. Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan, MNA/Chairman Standing Committee on Commerce chaired the meeting. The agenda of meeting was as under: –

1. Briefing by Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) regarding
i. Import of Sugar from 01st January, 2011 to-date.
ii. Import of Urea from 01st June, 2011 to-date.
2. Brief on domestic distribution of imported Urea from 01st July, 2011 to-date and ongoing FIA investigation in this regard.
3. Brief on selection criteria for appointment against vacant posts of Commercial Counsellors.
4. To consider Trade Development Authority of Pakistan Bill, 2007.
5. Any other item with the permission of the Chair.

Mr. Nawab Abdul Ghani Talpur, MNA, Ch. Iftikhar Nazir, MNA, Ms. Shireen Arshad Khan, MNA, Mr. Hamid Yar Hiraj, MNA, Mrs. Kashmala Tariq, MNA, Mrs. Jamila Gilani, MNA, Ch. Asghar Ali Jatt, MNA, Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan, MNA, Mr. Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi, MNA and Ms. Shahnaz Saleem, MNA attended the meeting.

With regard to situation of sugar in the country, the Committee expressed concern that Government has failed to maintain and check the prices of sugar as rates in the tender floated by the Government’s Committee is higher than the rates of sugar in the market. The Government rates in tender are Rs. 65 per kg where as market rates are Rs. 50-52 per kg.

The tender process is bogus and it seems that malafide attention is involved for which TCP is wholly responsible, the Committee alleged. There is huge inefficiencies and suspicious of corruption in issuing of permits and distribution of Sugar and Urea. In view of Power and gas crisis shall nation suffer more or Government has devised some remedial measures, the Committee enquired.

The Committee noted that it is perpetual crisis with regard to sugar, urea, cotton, wheat and other commodities. If existing crisis continued it may become a big scandal so TCP should immediately start purchasing the sugar from sugar Mills etc. The Committee noted with concern that Grower is facing severe financial crisis which may result in short fall of sugar in next year.

The Government should make buffer stocks of all commodities to face any crisis, the Committee recommended. The Committee enquired why raw sugar was not imported and maintained by TCP when the Government of Pakistan repeatedly approved this proposal. With regard to sale of sugar can to sugar Mills, the policy should be revised to bound the sugar Mills to give full cash to growers.

With regard to situation of urea, the Committee expressed concern that in the year 2008-2010 embezzlement of Rs. 27 billion was made in National Fertilizer Marketing Ltd (NFML). In November, 2010 the price of urea bag was Rs. 875 but nowadays it is Rs. 2100 per bag, the Committee noted with concern.

The Committee criticized that in Punjab Province 50% of Urea remained missing. In District Mandi Bahuddin there were 59 dealers but practically 7 dealers were verified and 52 dealers did not exist in the market which mean that Urea was not sold on Government prescribed rates.

Additional Director FIA informed that NFML received illegal commission of Rs. 390 million for smuggling of Urea from Karachi to Afghanistan. Ministry of Interior has been requested to accord approval to register case on 24-11-2011.

The Committee recommended Ministry of Interior to accord approval to register the case against concerned officials without further delay. FIA to immediately register case and furnish compliance report to the Standing Committee on Commerce, the Committee further recommended.

The Committee decided to call Minister for Commerce, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Secretary Ministry of Industries and DG FIA in the next meeting for further details in the case.

Agenda No. 3 and 4 was deferred.

For more information, contact:
Karamat Hussain Niazi
National Assembly of Pakistan
Parliament House, Islamabad
Tel: +9251 922 1082 -83
Fax: +9251 922 1106

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