THIS refers to the letter on imports of soda ash by Pakistani industries (Sept 10). Soda ash is a raw material with no substitutes, and industries like glass, detergents, silicate and packaging cannot survive without it.
Soda ash is produced by two factories in Pakistan and is always in short supply. The two manufacturers themselves import soda ash to meet the local requirements.. On top of that the two manufacturers have a cartel on prices and have fixed ex-factory prices at Rs46,800 per tonne, equivalent to $368 per tonne, whereas in Europe and Africa the price is $160 per tonne. This excessive profiteering has forced the local industry to import soda ash.
It is a norm the world over that if import and regulatory duties are imposed the government is responsible for regulating prices of the local suppliers as well.
To save the local users from shutting down it is appealed to the government to either abolish all imports and regulatory duties on soda ash or fixed local prices at $160 or Rs20,000 per tonne.
Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2018