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Govt wont raise fertilizer price despite risen production cost
February 25, 2001
Ghorasal (Narsingdi)- (UNB) – Continuing its support to agriculture, the government will not raise the fertilizer price this year despite rise in production cost.
Industries Minister Tofail Ahmed gave the assurance at a meeting here yesterday (Saturday), rejecting a demand from fertilizer factory employees of raising the price by Tk 1,000 per metric ton.
Earlier, in late 1997, the government increased the fertilizer price by Tk 1,075 to Tk 4,800 per ton to curb smuggling and protect the factories from sick. At present, fertilizer production cost comes to Tk 5,500 per ton incurring a loss of Tk 700.
Newly elected office bearers of Ghorasal Urea Fertilizer Factory Employees Union sought the price hike at their installation ceremony at the factory-run college premises to recover the losses.
“If we raise fertilizer price, agriculture production will fall and we’ll have to import food spending huge hard-earned foreign currency,” Tofail told the meeting.
Science and Technology Minister Lt Gen (retd) Noor Uddin Khan and Meher Afroz Chumki MP also addressed the function.
Tofail said Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) would require additional Tk 165 crore to produce 18 lakh tons of urea fertilizer targeted for the year due to gas price hike.
Rest of the year’s estimated demand of 23 lakh tons would be met through import. Only three lakh tons would be enough to meet the requirement as use of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) would reduce the demand for urea, he said.
“We’re trying to reduce the loss by increasing production in the old factories,” the minister said listing various BMRE programmes of the old factories. Increased production would reduce the cost, he added.
Tofail also listed the government’s planned fertilizer projects, including Shahjalal and Sirajganj urea projects, and two DAP projects in Chittagong. “If we can implement the projects, we’ll not have to import fertilizer,” he said.
Earlier, the minister visited the UFFL and its adjoining Palash Urea Factory.
Giving a positive picture of the economy, Tofail said: “Three defeated forces are now hatching conspiracy to destabilise the upswing of the economy.”
He called upon all to forge a strong unity against the evil forces to develop the country.
Noor Uddin called upon the employees union to protect the interest of the employees as well as try to increase production of the factories for reducing losses.
He also asked them to help government’s effort to raise food production further by increasing production of fertilizer, an essential agri-input.