LAHORE: Rejecting the ex-mill and retail sugar price fixed by the Punjab government, Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA-Punjab) has offered the government to pick the entire sugar stock from the mills at this price and offload it in the retail market.
However, the government should also take responsibility of paying the salaries of mills staff, 17 percent sales tax levied on sale of sugar and other financial liabilities of the project from where it would pick the stock.
PSMA-Punjab leadership including Javed Kayani, Chaudhry Waheed, Ali Saleem and others made this proposal while addressing a press conference here on Saturday and said that as per their calculations end ex-mill price of sugar comes to Rs 87.65 per kilograms at the government support sugarcane price of Rs 200 per 40 kg. Nevertheless, they claimed that they bought sugarcane during the crushing season from Rs 260-285 per 40 kilogram on average and end ex-mill sugar price at this rate comes to Rs 108-109 per kilogram.
They claimed they had always supported the government and continued to do so but some senior level government functionary should engage with the Association in negotiations to determine the price. They said the mills had bought sugarcane worth Rs 375-380 billion during the last crushing season and average price cost to a mill was between Rs 260-285 per maund.
They said the Association wrote a letter to the chief secretary to ensure provision of sugarcane at the support price to bring down the cost of production. They said that mills also faced the issue of lower recovery rate because of early start of crushing season due to which prices rose over Rs 90 per kilogram during the season.
They said the mills this year had paid through banks to the growers and nothing is hidden from the government. It should have fixed the ex-mill rate during the season which could force availability of sugarcane at the support price to mills.
Javed Kayani also deplored the government for naming the mills in “Satta” business.
He claimed while being chairman in 2017, he had written the government through PSMA Punjab to take action against this mafia. He said that the government should look in to the things with true perspective. He again urged the government to engage association and take the things forward with mutual understanding. They said they wanted to meet the prime minister and discuss the whole issue. They said a number of agencies were investigating into sugar business and FBR had issues sales tax assessment orders worth Rs 446 billion while if they could not recover this much amount even after selling all the 42 mills operational in Punjab.
PSMA spokesman Chaudhry
Waheed said that rate of sugar should be uniform in all the provinces. He said that association always offers subsidized sugar during Ramazan. Regarding a question, they said only five percent dues of sugarcane had left against the mills and they would be cleared as soon as the remaining stocks of sugar mills are .
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021