Government hints at imposing ban on sugar export
The government on Friday warned sugar industry that if the commodity’s price continues to show an increasing trend in the domestic market, options of putting a ban on exports maybe explored.
This message was conveyed to the sugar industry at a meeting of Sugar Advisory Board (SAB) presided over by Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce, Textile, Industries and Production and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood. Secretary Commerce, Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera and Secretary Industries and Production, Aamir Ashraf Khawaja were also present and grilled the domestic sugar industry. The representatives of PSMA and Kissan Board also attended the meeting.
The agenda of the committee was as follows: (i) review stock variation in calculation of Cane Commissioner and FBR as of June 20, 2019 as agreed in last SAB meeting; (ii) review overall availability and stock position of sugar (remaining stocks of crushing season 2018-19 and expected closing stocks of crushing season 2018-19); and (iii) increase in sugar price for further decision.
The price of sugar has increased by 29 per cent – from Rs 58.47 per kg to Rs 75.38 per kg in August 2019 which is a cause of concern for the government. The Price Monitoring Committee in its recent meeting expressed serious concern at the increase in sugar price.
According to an official statement, the meeting also discussed sugar export to Afghanistan and China and decided that surplus sugar will be ensured in the local market prior to allowing further export of the commodity. It was decided to convene another meeting of SAB in October wherein the cost of sugar will also be determined.
Informed sources confirmed that the Advisor warned the sugar industry that the government will consider imposition of ban on sugar export if the current increasing trend in its price continues. The meeting discussed different options to maintain a balance in export viz-a-viz availability of commodity in the domestic market at a reasonable price.
The Advisory Board discussed pros and cons of importing raw sugar for processing and export to China if confirmed orders are received. Informed sources told Business Recorder that there was a huge difference in stock figures of FBR and Provincial Cane Commissioners. According to Cane Commissioner’s report, total stocks were 3.555 million tons as of June 30, 2019 whereas FBR claims that stocks were 2.914 million tons, showing a difference of 0.641 million tons.
FBR calculated the stock position for taxation purposes in 2018-19 which is not a regular practice of FBR therefore it seems that FBR stocks may not be accurate. According to the Cane Commissioner Sindh, FBR has collected the dispatch sugar figures, which is the physical exit of the commodity from the gate of sugar mills, whereas office of Cane Commissioner Sindh has collected the sold stock figures, or the stock actually sold.