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ISLAMABAD: The third successive meeting of the Sugar Advisory Board (SAB) has failed to decide on the export of refined sugar, sources in the Ministry of Industries and Production told Business Recorder’.

The board meeting was held here under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Industries and Production Rana Tanveer Hussain which was also attended by Federal Minister for Commerce Jam Kamal Khan and other stakeholders including Pakistan Sugar Mills Associations (PSMA) to discuss and review the sugar stock availability, current market prices, sugarcane rates, present global market sugar prices, and industry production cost.

The meeting was informed that this year total sugar production was 6.8 million tons, while the country has also 0.7 million tons of carryover stock of sugar of past year. The country’s annual refined sugar requirement stands at six million tons. Sugar mills at present have around 4.5 million tons of sugar in stocks.

SAB fails to take decision on sugar export

Rana Tanveer, while rejecting sugar export permission, said that the government will take decision in this connection in consultation with all the relevant departments, saying protection of the domestic consumers was the prime responsibility of the government.

He further remarked that in case the relevant departments are allowing sugar export the industry will have to ensure domestic price stability.

During the meeting, the representatives of the PSMA informed the government officials that Pakistan at present has around 1.5 million tons of additional sugar which should be exported.

The PSMA has suggested the government to allow export up to one million tons of refined sugar in the first phase which will bring around $650-700 million foreign exchange for the country and the rest of the 0.5 million tons of sugar be exported in two phases.

The meeting was informed that last year sugarcane price was Rs350 per 40kg which now has reached Rs450 per 40kg and the production cost of sugar at present stands at Rs170 per kg while in the retail market refined sugar was available in the range of Rs145-150 per kg which is the lowest price in the world.

The PSMA delegation also informed the government that if the government did not allow sugar export it would result in the smuggling of the commodity to Iran, Afghanistan, and other countries; as a result, the country would be deprived of precious foreign exchange while smugglers would take advantage of the situation.

The PSMA officials said locally, the sugar production price was around $503 per ton while in the international market, it was hovering around $550 per ton; therefore, export permission will benefit both the industry and the country. The meeting was further informed that in Pakistan, industrial use of sugar stands at 85 per cent and the rest 15 per cent was domestic use. Moreover, 18 per cent general sales tax (GST) was imposed on sugar.

According to some government and market sources, if the government allows PSMA to export sugar it will take the sweetener’s retail price beyond Rs190 per kg. They said that last year sugar industry also assured the government of not taking domestic sugar prices above Rs120 per kg but following sugar export the commodity price even touched Rs180 per kg in retail.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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M. Zahid Iftikhar May 30, 2024 11:12am
Sugar price is 0.40-0.43 USD per Kg in USA these days. Who says Rs. 145-150 per kg is the lowest price in the world? Govt should deregulate sugar, wheat, etc... & only ensure fair competition.
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