PSMA asks govt to allow sugar exports to earn $1.2b

ISLAMABAD  -  Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) has asked the government to allow sug­ar exports, which can earn 1.2 billion US dollars in foreign exchange.

A general body meeting of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (Punjab Zone) was held in which effective measures taken by the government against smuggling of essential commodities were appreciated. The spokesperson said that of sugar which was saved from smuggling can be export­ed and earn foreign exchange for the coun­try. In a statement, the spokesman said that the IMF is continuously burdening the public in the form of inflation by imposing its terms. If the surplus sugar is exported, the greatest benefit will be transferred to the people, valuable foreign exchange will flow into the country and the government will have to depend less on foreign aid.

The spokesman said that the meeting also discussed the letters written by the sugar industry to the Federal Minister of Finance and the Federal Minister of Commerce. According to the contents of the letters, the domestic sugar in­dustry has achieved surplus production of sugar in the recent crushing season 2023-24. The total available sugar in the current year is 7.5 million metric tons, while the country’s annual consumption is 6.00 million metric tons, which shows that Pakistan has surplus sugar of 1.5 million metric tons, which can earn 1.2 billion US dollars in foreign exchange.

The spokesman said that as compared to the crushing season of 2022-23, in the current crushing season sugar mills paid more to buy sugarcane, which increased the production cost of sugar. There is an urgent need to formulate a policy to ex­port at least 1 million metric tonnes of surplus sugar in two installments with­out any subsidy so that the exchequer can get the best benefit from the recent good prices in the international market. India’s focus on manufacturing value-added goods rather than exporting sugar has created a demand-supply gap in the international market. Government of Pakistan should take advantage of this opportunity to export surplus sugar. 

The government should make a quota of 1 million tons of sugar export annually because the sugarcane crop will have an increase in next year as well. At the inter­national level, Pakistan is currently pro­ducing the cheapest sugar and the coun­try’s sugar industry has given the rate of sugarcane up to Rs. 500 per maund this year. The sugar industry is currently sell­ing sugar at less than its cost of produc­tion, leading the sugar industry to a crisis and bankruptcy. The sugar industry is asking the government to export addi­tional sugar without any subsidies or fi­nancial support. Apart from this, foreign exchange can also be earned by exporting by-products of sugar, including ethanol. The sugar industry has also a potential to generate 1,500 to 2,000 MW of electricity, which can provide cheap electricity to the country which can save people’s tax mon­ey. In this regard, the government needs to make a comprehensive policy so that the country can benefit from it.

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