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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Finance ministry bars sugar mills from exporting sugar

ISLAMABAD (C News) – The Finance Ministry on Monday while rejecting claims in abundance of sugar barred the sugar mills form exporting sugar.

Sources privy to the matter said that talks were held between sugar mill owners and the finance ministry, in which the ministry rejected the sugar mills’ claims of an abundance of sugar and barred them from exporting sugar.

The National Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema said that the Sugar Mills Association did not inform  government about the overall stock situation, adding that there is a fear of 40% reduction in sugarcane production in Sindh.

On the other hand, there will be another round of negotiations with the Sugar Mills Association on Thursday.

Partial export demand

It is pertinent to mention that the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) – the representative body of sugar mill owners – sugar mill owners have been demanding the centre to allow the partial export of around 60pc of the sugar surplus from the last year 2021 and also warned to delay the crushing season.

However, the government, fearing a shortage, is resisting the demand.

PSMA (Central) Chairman Asim Ghani Usman said in a press conference “If, due to political considerations, the government desires to ensure some buffer stocks [to maintain sugar prices in local market] then 500,000 tons of the 1.2 million tons of the sugar may be retained, allowing export of the rest,” He warned if the demand was not met, the 2022-23 crushing season would be started from mid-January, instead of Nov 30 as required under the law.

He vowed the millers were ready to face consequences of the action, which is in violation of the Sugar Factories (Control) Act.

While as per PSMA claims 1.2m to 1.3m tonnes of sugar was available with the millers, sufficient to meet the domestic demand till Jan 15, 2023.

The export of 1m tonnes could fetch $1 billion, the PSMA claims.

Mr Ghani said the export would help millers start the crushing season on time, pay good rates to the growers and provide livelihood to thousands linked with the industry.

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