Agriculture Minister M K Anwar assured Tuesday the private traders of permitting them to sell imported fertiliser at a rate under the existing government subsidy arrangement.
He, however, expressed his inability to resolve the problems with regard to payments of the outstanding cash subsidy to the traders.
The minister's assurance came and helplessness was sounded during a meeting with a five-member delegation of the Bangladesh Fertiliser Association (BFA), led by its Chairman Kafiluddin Ahmed at his office.
The meeting was held to discuss the prevailing fertiliser supply crisis, created suddenly after the fertiliser importers and dealers stopped selling of fertilisers at subsidised prices in the absence of permission from the authorities.
The abrupt supply disruption of fertilise is threatening cultivation of 'boro' and 'rabi' crops.
"I am unable to settle the payments of the outstanding cash subsidy as the matter is entirely dealt with by the ministry of finance," Kafiliddin said, quoting the agriculture minister.
The agriculture minister, however, assured the fertiliser traders of taking necessary steps so that they get sales permission for the imported consignments.
Kafiluddin informed the FE that around 250,000 tonnes of imported fertilisers had been awaiting sale permission from the government over the last couple of months.
He also blamed the dilly-dally attitudes of district authorities and local-level monitoring committees for it.
The BFA chairmen, however, said the traders are facing serious problems for non-payment of the outstanding amount of subsidy.
Responding to a question, he said the fertiliser traders are yet to get their last year's subsidy amounting to about Tk 970 million.
Kafiluddin also noted that the importers were unable to repay their bank loans due to the non-payment of the money.
Taking the problems into account, the BFA chairmen sought the Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's intervention for an immediate solution to the problem of payments relating to the outstanding amount of subsidy.
He, however, suggested that the Agriculture Ministry should be given entire responsibility regarding maintenance and disbursement of the government's fertiliser subsidy.
Currently, the government is to pay subsidy at the rate of 25 per cent on the sales of different types of imported fertilisers including triple super phosphate (TSP) and di-ammonium phosphate (DAP).
The BFA sources said the private sector imports around 1.0 million tonnes of different types of fertilisers, except the government-controlled urea fertiliser, annually.
Nearly 80 per cent of the total volume is used for the country's boro and rabi season alone, they mentioned.