An inter-ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce, Textile, Industries and Production and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood recommended export of 1 Million Metric Tons (MMT) of sugar sans subsidy to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Monday, Official documents presented before the committee reveal that on September 11, 2018, on the request of Commerce Division, Sugar Advisory Board (SAB) discussed available surplus stock. Chairman PSMA, Javed Kayani, apprised the Board about the production of 6.617 Million Metric Tons (MMT) of sugar after the recent crushing season in the country with net excess of about 2 million tons. He further stated that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has fixed sales tax on assessable value @ Rs 6 per kg on registered and Rs 8 per kg on non-registered ompanies. After briefly explaining the history, he requested solving three main issues of the industry: (i) immediate release of outstanding rebate, (ii) exclusion of sugar from Schedule 1 of Export Policy Order (EPO) and (iii) permission to export surplus sugar as soon as possible.
Secretary Industries and Production Khalid Masood Chaudhry appreciated and acknowledged the role of the sugar industry in the national economy which has contributed significantly to the growth achieved during previous years. The representative of Commerce Division explained that they had approached the Cabinet to exclude sugar from Schedule 1 of Export Policy Order. Cabinet Division approved the summary, however, Ministry of Law and Justice stated that it was the last few days of the government when this decision was taken, therefore, it is better that the case may be reconsidered by the new government afresh. Secretary Industries directed the representative of Commerce to pursue the matter on priority basis. Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research explained that due to water shortage the Ministry forecasts low production of sugarcane in the upcoming crushing season. Secretary Industries and Production r enquired about the production data from the provincial representatives. Figures were calculated with consensus after considering total production of all the Sugar Mills of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The representative of Sindh did not participate in the meeting and SAB forum considered the production of Sindh as per their fortnightly report.
The representative of Finance stated that the projections of next year crushing may be analyzed to check the available exportable stocks. Secretary Industries again inquired about the future estimated production form provincial representatives. However, representative of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stated that the estimated production in their provinces is expected the same as last year’s. An official said that the committee was convinced by the arguments of PSMA Javed Kayani about surplus stock due to which it was concluded unanimously by the Board that total surplus sugar by the end of season will be 1.962 MMT. The meeting reached the conclusion that after deducting strategic reserves of two months i.e. 0.866 MMT, there will be a net surplus of 1.096 MMT of sugar , therefore it will be safe to recommend export of 1.00 MMT without making it time-bound and it can be reviewed by the monitoring committee.
The Board also recommended a monitoring committee to ensure the availability of sugar in the country on monthly basis. This committee will be headed by Joint Secretary (PSD) and representatives will include from National Food Security and Research, Commerce, Finance, PSMA and Provincial Cane Commissioners. Secretary Commerce, Younus Dagha, who also attended the meeting presided over by Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce, Textile, Industries and Production Razzak Dawood, told Business Recorder that the committee has recommended to the ECC to allow export of 1 MMT sugar without making it time-bound so that surplus sugar is exported prior to start of crushing season and payment to growers. “The committee has recommended to the ECC whatever came from SAB,” he added. Commerce Ministry will submit a summary to the ECC in its forthcoming meeting, to be held after the holidays of Muharram-ul-Haram.