PM approves ban on export of sugar in bid to curtail runaway prices


ISLAMABAD, FEB 08 (DNA) – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday approved a summary seeking to halt the export of 350,000 tons of sugar and allow the import of 300,000 tons of sugar through the private sector.

The decision will be implemented after approval by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC). According to sources privy to meetings of the Sugar Advisory Board, a stock of 1.72 million tons of sugar is available in the country.

Traditionally, a strategic reserve of two months is maintained by the state, with a monthly requirement of around 0.46 million tons.  Besides the availability of three-months’ stock of sugar, crushing is also in process and will continue till March 2020 and, therefore, the stock position will improve further.

However, despite the availability of sufficient stock, sugar prices have continued to increase.  The prime minister has held a series of meeting with the concerned divisions and provincial chief secretaries to ensure that all administrative steps are being taken to ensure there is no sugar hoarding and profiteering.

The prime minister has further directed the chief secretaries to take steps to control hoarding and profiteering in their respective provinces.

To complement these administrative actions, PM Imran on Friday also approved a proposal for the ECC to immediately cancel the remaining export quota of 0.35 million tons of sugar and to advise the provincial governments to implement the Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act at the sub-national level.

It has also been proposed that 300,000 tons of white sugar should be imported through the private sector without taxes and duties. However, no other financial support will be provided to the importers by the federal or provincial governments.

Despite these steps, prices have continued to show an upward trend.Sugar crisis: Khawaja Asif says 45% mill owners are from PTI During the incumbent government’s 15 months, sugar prices have shot up to as high as Rs64 a kilo.

In January, the wholesale rate rose from Rs64 to Rs74 per kg and an acute shortage surfaced in the country. Last year, Pakistan produced 600,000 tonnes of sugar. However, now, the wholesale rate of sugar is expected to reach Rs80 a kilo during February. = DNA