Govt considers allowing exports of 500,000T sugar

Israr Khan
Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The government is considering allowing mills to ship out half-a-million of sugar instead of the one million tonnes demanded by the Pakistan Sugar Mill Association (PSMA), industry officials said.

They said that the government was ready to give permission for exporting 500,000 tonnes of sugar to earn $250 million. At the same time, the government planned to keep local consumers insulated from the impact of price hikes.

It should be noted that the Sugar Advisory Board (SAB), a federal tripartite recommendation body has held various meetings in the last two months to decide whether to give the export permission that the millers have been demanding. Although the SAB has not officially taken a decision, the top officials of the ministry of food security and finance ministry informed The News, “the ministers have unofficially informed and assured the PSMA to allow the export of 500,000 tonnes.”

A summary to this effect would be tabled before the Economic Coordination (ECC) of the Cabinet that has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday (today), where the permission would be granted to the millers. A government official when asked whether it would affect the local sugar prices, said that already the crushing season has commenced, and “we are expecting to get around 7 million tonnes of sugar production in the new season”. Around a million tonnes of sugar is available in the stocks, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) documents revealed. Pakistan’s local annual demand for sugar is around 6 million tonnes.

The newly re-constituted SAB includes the federal minister for national food security and research, federal minister for commerce, federal secretaries of national food security, commerce and industries and production, provincial representatives, and all other stakeholders (sugar industry/growers/associations). This body recommends its decision to the government and ECC for further action.

Sources said that in the previous crushing season, the country produced nearly 7.9 million metric tonnes of sugar, which was a historic high and far more than local demands.

The manufacturers have been demanding the government for the last several months to allow its exports of surplus quantity, as the sugar price was also very attractive in the international market. However, the government was reluctant, as in previous years the country had faced its negative impact, especially in the form of local high prices and shortages. But, this time the government has decided to strike a balance and allow the export of half of the quantity that the millers demanded. It would not only affect local prices and stocks, but also help the industry and growers.