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ISLAMABAD: Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar has said that export of Gur will be opened along with sugar in the light of decision of Sugar Advisory Board (SAB). He was responding to a question raised by Senator Fida Muhammad about ban on export of Gur, as KP is a major exporter of Gur to Afghanistan.

The Sugar Advisory Board has been reconstituted under the administrative control of Ministry of National Food Security and Research. The main role in export of sugar is of the Commerce Ministry.

The Senate Standing Committee on Commerce was informed that actually sugar and Gur fall in the same tariff line due to which ban on export of sugar is automatically applied to Gur. However, the officials of the Commerce Ministry argued that Gur should be separated from sugar so that its export may not be affected.

The Minister for Commerce said if export of sugar is allowed, Gur will also be exported. However, there was no visible consensus on the quantity of sugar allowed to be exported. He said, some stock will be surplus at the time of next crushing season which commences in November each year.

“Export of sugar will be allowed in the light of established surplus stock of sugar,” said Secretary Commerce Sualeh Ahmed Faruqui. Sources in Commerce Ministry said that campaign initiated by the sugar industry to export sugar is deceitful as the country does not have an exportable surplus stock of two million tons which could fetch one billion dollars. At present sugar is about $ 500 per ton net fob basis. The much touted surplus is not more than 400k as the actual consumption figures are being documented for the first time.

“The entire production has already been documented for the first time after the track and trace system was successfully implemented by FBR. Sugar industry leadership during the PTI regime also gave incorrect figures and estimates to export thereby creating a shortage in the country,” said an insider.

Officials who are carefully monitoring prices of sugar in local market maintain that permission to export surplus will only be given after October 30, 2022 subsequent to reviewing the actual figures as the country is already passing through issues relating to food security and inflation in general.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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