ISLAMABAD: The government is likely to accept tender of $637 per ton for import of 0.2 million tons’ sugar with limited options to deal with the looming sugar crisis in the country.
The retail price of sugar, procured at $ 637 per ton, will be around Rs115 per kilogramme without sales tax.
A couple of months ago, prices of sugar at the international market were around $450 per ton and the dollar was at Rs152 but no decision was taken on this issue. Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) also cancelled a couple of tenders.
A senior official of Commerce Ministry told Business Recorder that procurement of sugar is not in the hands of Commerce Ministry as the TCP is just a procuring agency. “Actually, this is the issue of Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Commerce Ministry has to comply with the instructions at other fora,” the official maintained. The government intends to subsidise imported sugar.
In reply to a question, the official stated that if the government directs the Commerce Ministry to purchase sugar through tendering process, the Ministry will examine the entire year’s cycle and float tender only when prices in the international market are reasonable. But when the ministry is asked to purchase sugar urgently irrespective of its price, then it has no other choice.
The official also claimed that data management at Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) is “very poor” as the organisation depends on data from provinces.
“Information is received at PBS piecemeal and that’s why decisions are not taken at an appropriate time,” the official said. The stock figures of both Punjab and Sindh were inaccurately reported after physical verification of stocks.
Initially, it was noted that sugar stocks are enough for coming months but now the information is that the consumption data was incorrect and sugar should be imported urgently.
“When Ministry of Industries and Production (MoI&P), which is the custodian of this subject, informed the Commerce Ministry that sugar stocks are not enough and the commodity must be imported irrespective of price immediately, then what can the Commerce Ministry do?” he asked.