Overcoming gas shortage top priority: Dawood

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, and Industries, Abdul Razzak Dawood said that overcoming gas shortage is a top priority of the government.

Talking to media persons, the adviser said gas supply to all fertiliser manufacturing units is continuing without any interruption in order to fulfil domestic urea demand during the season.

He said the government was not shutting down the fertiliser industry. He further reassured that there was no urea shortage and farmers should not be worried.

“Surplus stocks of urea are kept by dealers as well as the fertiliser industry,” he added.

Regarding the gas supply issue in Karachi, the adviser informed that Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the concerned authorities to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

“The minister for petroleum is in Karachi today where he is meeting with authorities of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) to resolve the issue on priority,” he added.

Mr Dawood informed that his recent visit to Japan was highly successful as Japanese investors showed keen interest to invest in various sectors in Pakistan including engineering, information technology, waste water treatment, and desalination plants.

To a question, he said projects under the first phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be completed within a year and after that the government would look forward to expand the scope of the mega project in areas of industries, social development, agriculture, and education.

To a question regarding China’s commitment with Pakistan to provide assistance to ease the country’s foreign exchange reserves’ problem, Mr Dawood said the Chinese ambassador in Islamabad had reaffirmed that his country stood by what it agreed during the visit of the prime minister last month.

He said the government was preparing a comprehensive industrial policy which would take some time to be finalised.

“We will draft separate policies for each important industry such as textile, leather, engineering goods, and sports goods,” he said adding that textile policy was expected to be finalised in the coming few months.

Responding to another query with regards to free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries, Mr Dawood said Pakistan was looking to initiate negotiations for new FTA with Malaysia.

‘Under-invoicing of IT products must stop’

The Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile Industry on Friday directed the Ministry of Commerce to take immediate measures for tackling under invoicing of Information Technology (IT) products.

It also directed Member Customs of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to give it a detailed presentation on the procedure adopted for knowing the actual prices of imported products and the mechanism to bring those under surveillance who were involved in under invoicing.

The committee, chaired by Senator Syed Shibli Faraz, was given a briefing about the ongoing negotiations on FTA with China.

It was also briefed on the upcoming Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2018-23, and import and export performance during the first and second quarters of the current financial year (2018-19).

The committee was told that the new National Tariff Policy would be presented to the Federal Cabinet for approval.

The committee members called for private sector commercial counselors, improvement in balance of trade and tackling de-industrialisation.

The meeting was attended by senators Dilawar Khan, Nuzhat Sadiq, Nauman Wazir Khattak and Dr Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Secretary Commerce Muhammad Younus Dhaga and senior officers.