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ISLAMABAD: The sugar industry has requested the government to allow the export of surplus sugar keeping in view the availability of additional stocks of the commodity in the country.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, the newly-elected Chairman of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) Asim Ghani said that the sugar industry is the first industry of Pakistan which entered into the Track and Trace System of the FBR.

“Our demand is to export surplus sugar. Will the government allow the export of surplus sugar when its international price becomes the lowest?” he questioned.

He said the lower price of sugar is not due to the government’s control but rather due to the surplus stock of sugar. The farmers of Sindh are in apathetic condition as their cotton and wheat crops are destroyed due to floods. Sugarcane is a sustainable crop then why the government is giving attention to it, he questioned.

If the export of surplus sugar was not allowed as fast as possible the industry as well as the growers would face serious financial crises – eventually leading to overburdening of the national economy, he said.

Ghani said that nothing has been proven by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) against the sugar industry.

He added that the CCP had only challenged the subsidy given by the government to the sugar mills.

Ghani also accused the CCP that it conducted a politically-motivated inquiry against the sugar mills and said that mere accusations were made in the CCP’s inquiry.

“The crushing season is set to commence from next month, if exports are not allowed the sugar industry may shut down as it will be overburdened,” the PSMA chairman said.

Zaka Ashraf said that by exporting one million tonnes of sugar this year and the same quantity next year, the country will get a foreign exchange of around $2 billion dollars, which will improve the financial standing of sugar mills to make payments to the farmers.

The PSMA chairman said that the government did not allow the export of surplus sugar in 2017-18 but later when it allowed then it had to give a subsidy on it, incurring huge loss to the national exchequer. Sufficient surplus stock of sugar is available till January and the government should give proper consideration to this vital issue.

Earlier, the Annual General Meeting of the PSMA elected the new chairman of the PSMA, Asim Ghani. The meeting also elected its provincial chairmen. Chaudhry M Zaka Ashraf has been elected as PSMA Punjab chairman, Ahmed Ibrahim elected as PSMA Sindh chairman and Iskander M Khan has been elected as PSMA KP chairman.

The PSMA delegation has also held a meeting with the Sugar Advisory Board in which Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, Federal Minister for Commerce and Industry Naveed Qamar, and sugarcane growers also participated. The delegation apprised Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema about the problems facing the sugar industry.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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