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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has allowed sugar export of up to 100,000 metric tonnes on the recommendation of the Sugar Advisory Board (SAB) Thursday. The meeting of the ECC presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar considered and approved a summary of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research regarding the export of sugar during the fiscal year 2022-23 and allowed the export of sugar up to 100,000 MTs. The sugar export will not involve any federal or provincial subsidy.

The ECC was informed by the Ministry of NF&SR that a meeting of the SAB was held on 14th December 2022 presided over by Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema. The ministry reviewed the data provided by provinces, PSMA and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) sugar stocks for 2021-22, sugarcane production estimates 2022-23 as well as sugar production estimates 2022-23 and estimated annual sugar consumption.

The ECC was further told that the SAB meeting discussed the stock position, crushing status in each province and recommendations of provinces of Punjab and Sindh for the export of sugar and added that the Prime Minister’s Office on 2nd December 2022 directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for hiring a reputable audit firm for authentication of sugar stocks available with the sugar industry.

The ministry was also advised that the option of engaging an internationally-recognised audit firm for the same on pro bono basis may also be explored.

SAB allows export of up to half a million tons of sugar

The ministry, in compliance with the directives, explored both options and contacted four big firms for authentication/verification sugar stock claimed by the PSMA on pro bono basis but received no response.

Thereafter, the ministry also gave advertisement in local newspapers for hiring of an audit firm as per the PPRA rules. And the SAB also decided that the Prime Minister’s Office will be approached to review its earlier decision regarding the hiring of an independent audit firm for verification and authentication of sugar stocks reported by the PSMA because the process would take a considerable time. Therefore, reliance would be made on the data/information provided by FBR duly signed by the chairman FBR, as decided in the meeting of the SAB.

The ministry has requested PMO for a review of its earlier decision on 14th December 2022, reply thereof is awaited.

The ministry added that the SAB has recommended to the ECC export of sugar up to 100,000 MT and quota will be given to the PSMA for further distribution to the filer millers. Additionally, the PSMA would undertake that price of sugar will not increase in the domestic market from Rs85-90 per kg (ex-mill) till 31stJanuary 2023 and in case of an increase in domestic price, SAB would recommend discontinuation of exports on an immediate basis. The ECC has also approved technical supplementary grants of Rs7 million in favour of the Ministry of Climate Change and Rs743.57 million in favour of the Ministry of Housing and Works for the execution of its development schemes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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