ISLAMABAD    -   A parliamentary committee on Friday showed displeasure over the non-availability of essential items at Utility Stores Corporation under Ramazan package.

The meeting of the Standing Committee on Industries and Production of the National Assembly was held on Friday under the chairmanship of MNA Sajid Hussain Turi.

Rana Muhammad Ishaq Khan, MNA/Member of the Committee drew the attention of the Committee towards problems being faced by the common people due to short of utility products in Utility stores all over the country. The Committee Members have expressed their deep concern in this regard. They said that people are struggling to get basic food items at state run stores at subsidize rates.

The Committee was informed that the government has already injected Rs2 Billion as subsidy for relief to the low income people under the Ramazan package. The Managing Director, Utility Stores Corporation (USC) informed the Committee that USC was providing low rates on essential household items i.e flour, sugar, cooking oil/ghee and pulses, etc. He added that USC has sold Rs1 billion products during last 10 days in its stores, which was remarkable achievement by the USC. He also told the Committee that USC management was closely monitoring the sale of its stores. He further said that basic food commodities are still available at the stores.

The committee has also expressed concerns over the continuous devlauation in local currency against the US dollar, which has increased to Rs150 on Friday in open market. They were of the opinion that increase of dollar against PKR will affect the local industries. While discussing the export of textile industry, the Committee members stated that cost of production was a major factor for improving the said industry in the country. The members have shown their concerns on productivity of cotton crop.  .

The Executive Director, Engineering Development Board (EDB) briefed the Committee about the background of the EDB. He said that engineering industry always remained mainstay of world’s economies, last 05 years, Engineering exports accounted for 53 to 73 % for Developed Countries & 36 to 63% for Newly Industrialized Countries, Pakistan 5-6% of overall exports. He further stated that Engineering sector was producing value added products- requires efficient design, more professionalism and intellect to substantially raise living standards. The Advisor to the Honorable Prime Minister on Industries & Production enlightened the importance of the engineering industry in the economy. He said that first time in the history of Pakistan tractor manufacturing industry in the country was exporting its products and Air Conditioners will be exported, shortly. He was of the opinion that tax duty structure of the government need to be reviewed for the improvement of the local industries. He added that Yellow Cab (taxi scheme) and Green Tractor Schemes discouraged the local manufacturing industries at that time. He informed the Committee that shortly he will meet the Advisor on Finance & Revenue to discuss the issues pertaining to tariff structure.

The Chief Executive Officer, National Fertilizer Corporation (NFC) briefed the Committee about the creation of NFC. He said that NFC was incorporated as a private limited company in August, 1973, later on, a capacity of over 2 million metric tons fertilizer was created in the country by establishing 6 fertilizer manufacturing companies. However, pursuant to privatization policy of the government all the manufacturing plants of NFC were privatized. He explained the role and objectives of the NFC in the country.

The Secretary, Ministry of Industries & Production informed the Committee that a proposal for establishing the Fertilizer Regulatory Board was under consideration for regulating/controlling the prices and demand/supply of fertilizer in the country. The Committee has expressed its concern over the increase of fertilizer prices in the market. The Committee recommended that strict action may be taken against the fertilizer companies; those have increased fertilizer prices in the market without any justification.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Mr. Muhammad Akram, Sahibzada Sibgatullah, Ms. Shandana Gulzar Khan, Ms. Sajid Begum, Mr. Usama Qadri, Mr. Ali Gohar Khan,Mr. Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, Rana Muhammad Ishaq Khan, Mr. Riaz ul Haq, Mr. Abdul Rehman Khan Kanju, Mahar Irshad Ahmad Khan besides the senior officers of Ministry of Industries & Production.