ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) on Tuesday sought permission to export 1 million tons of sugar prior to start of new crushing season, official sources told Business Recorder.
This proposal was floated at a meeting of Sugar Advisory Board (SAB) which was held in the Ministry of Industries and Production. Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce, Textile, Industries and Production, Abdul Razak Dawood was scheduled to preside over the meeting but he opted not to attend.
According to the statistics tabled by the Ministry of Industries and Production, sugar stocks in 2017-18: in Punjab were 3.865 million tons; 2.281 million tons in Sindh and 0.470 million tons in KPK, totaling 6.617 million tons. With the balance from the previous year of 0.541 million tons total available stocks are 7.158 million tons.
The Ministry which obtained statistics from Provincial Cane Commissioners informed the meeting that with consumption of 5.200 million tons in 2017-18, the expected surplus inventory has been calculated at 1.959 million tons.
The sources said, on behalf of sugar industry Chairman Javed Kayani gave a detailed briefing to Sugar Advisory Board- the first meeting called by the new government to review and ascertain stock position.
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He alluded to the already approved summary of the Cabinet referred to by the Commerce Ministry wherein sugar has been removed from Export Order (EPO) schedule 1 in view of sufficient stocks and production in the country. Commerce Ministry revealed that the government has decided to ratify the matter and it will again be taken up for review in the ECC as the previous government could not do in its last days.
“Ministry of Law has suggested that since the approval was accorded by the former government in its dying days, it needs fresh approval from the new government,” said an official.
Chairman PSMA further requested for the release of pending rebates to a cash-strapped sugar industry amounting to about Rs 16 billion.
The source said PSMA also gave cost of production of Rs 63.50 with sales tax of Rs 6.60/kg whereas presently ex-factory price is Rs 50 per kg while employees state that industry is facing huge losses.
“The prime objective is to start the crushing season on time and get rid of the glut like situation; we have sought permission to export 1 million tons of sugar immediately. Currently we are getting offers from Afghanistan at around $ 360 to 380 per ton,” the sources quoted Mr. Kayani as saying in the meeting.
PSMA argues that this advantage will be lost as India is expecting the highest ever production of 36 million tons, higher than even Brazil’s, and once that is available in the market Pakistan’s advantage will be lost. An official who attended the meeting, told Business Recorder that the Ministry of Industries and Production will submit a summary to the ECC after due consultation with the concerned Ministries within a few days
(This news/article originally appeared in Business Recorder on September 12th, 2018)