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ISLAMABAD: The Sugar Advisory Board (SAB) has finally allowed the sugar industry to export up to half a million tons of sugar phase-wise. The SAB meeting held here under the chairmanship of Federal Minister National Food Security, Tariq Bashir Cheema after a detailed briefing by the officials of the National Food Security Ministry and the Ministry of Industries and Production allowed millers to export the commodity fortnightly up to 100,000 tons.

The sugar industry represented by Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) had first asked the government to allow 1.5 million tons of sugar which was rejected by Cheema, later it was revised to 1.2 million tons but the quantity was also rejected.

The Food Security Minister had linked the export with the provision of exact data of the sugar stocks in Pakistan verified by the deputy commissioners of the respective district where mills are situated. He was of the view that allowing the export will result in an increase in local commodity prices by up to Rs25 per kg and asked the industry to ensure local prices stay lower.

Keeping in view the present global sugar prices which are hovering around $527-536 per ton, the export of 500,000 tons of sugar will bring an estimated $266 million in much-needed foreign exchange for the country.

According to sources, the SAB decided to export sugar, in the first phase, only 100,000 tons sugar will be exported.

Dar willing to allow sugar export?

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Production says more sugar will be exported by reviewing the price every 15 days and a total of 500,000 tons of sugar will be exported. According to millers, a month ago, global sugar prices were over $600 per ton and had the government allowed the exports it would have further strengthened the national foreign reserves which are rapidly depleting.

The ministry will present a summary in the next Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) meeting. Sugar mill owners appreciated the government decision, saying by this valuable foreign exchange, farmers will also get benefit. Following the assurance of the government, sugar millers have started crushing sugarcane for the production of sugar, well-placed sources in the sugar mills association said. The millers said dollars will be injected into Pakistan’s economy with the export of sugar.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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