Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet is likely to allow export of 0.5 millions of sugar on a war footing along with a rebate of Rs 13 per kg from port aimed at pulling out the local sugar industry of crisis, well informed sources Business Recorder.
This was decided, in principle, at a meeting presided over by Commerce Minister, Engineer Khurram Dastgir on Thursday after a meeting with the representatives of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA).
Khurram is heading a four-member committee comprising Secretary Commerce, Secretary Industries and Secretary National Food Security and Research, constituted by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
According to sources, the Commerce Minister-led committee held a two-hour discussion with the sugar industry”s representatives, who claim they commenced the crushing season on the assurance from the Prime Minister that the industry”s problems will be solved with immediate effect.
“We have witnessed a heated debate between the government”s committee and PSMA delegation headed by its central Chairman Iskandar Khan and Chairman Punjab Zone, Javed Kayani; however, at the end of the meeting the participants agreed to disagree,” the sources continued.
The Prime Minister directed the provincial governments to notify sugarcane price of Rs 180 per 40 kg. Both Punjab and KPK implemented the decision but millers of Sindh got a stay order from the court.
As the representatives of sugar industry left the committee room of Commerce Ministry, the committee held an internal discussion on their demands and decided that Ministry of National Food Security and Research will prepare a summary for the ECC.
Commerce Ministry claims that the subject of sugar is not within its domain, sources said, adding that the Ministry is already dealing with National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the rebate issue, approved by the ECC in previous years.
An official told Business Recorder that the representatives of sugar industry informed the meeting that the industry has a carryover stock of 1.5 million tons of which export of 0.5 million tons should be allowed immediately. However, the industry sought rebate of Rs 13 per kg during the meeting. Earlier, industry had sought rebate of Rs 15 per kg.
“The committee discussed internally on what basis sugar industry is seeking rebate of Rs 13 per kg from port as it sought Rs 10 per kg last year,” the sources said, adding that this point was also debated in the meeting with sugar industry.
Sugar industry’s representatives argued that since the ex-mill price of sugar is Rs 51 per kg whereas the cost of sugarcane to produce one kg sugar is Rs 50 which implies that industry has to pay a Rs 3 GST from its own pocket.
News source: Business Recorder