Islamabad-Amidst raising retail prices of sugar to Rs100 per kilogramme, the government and Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) are meeting here today (Monday) to consider the proposal of allowing export of surplus sugar.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has convened a meeting with the representatives of PSMA to consider the demand of the sugar industry for the export of one million metric tonnes surplus sugar, official source told The Nation.

The meeting will consider availability of sugar stocks in the country, starting of sugarcane crushing season and the demand of the PSMA for the export of surplus sugar, the source said.

Last week a general body meeting of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (Centre) had unanimously decided that the sugar mills will not be in a position to start crushing season until the government allows export of surplus sugar. The PSMA spokesperson said that the sugar mills have ample stocks till January 15, 2023 and the industry is left with only two options— First is to delay the start of crushing season so that the stocks available with the mills will end or, second, the government gives permission to the sugar mills to export one million metric tonnes of surplus sugar to get foreign exchange to the tune of one billion dollars and the sugar mills can start the crushing season.

The demand from the industry for the export of surplus sugar came at the time when the price of the commodity is increasing in the local market. The sugar whole sale price has shown an increase of around 15 percent in the local market during the past few weeks, the source said. Few weeks ago, the whole sale price of the sugar was Rs78 per kg, while the retail was roaming between Rs85 to Rs90 per kg. However, now the sugar whole sale price has reached to around Rs90 per kg, while the retail rate has gone up to Rs100 per kg, the source said.

It is worth to mention here that the government of Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had also allowed export of sugar, which had increased the price of sugar by 30 percent within seven months and had resulted in sugar crises in the country. Prior the PTI’s government permission for export of sugar in December 2018, the retail price of sugar was Rs55 per kg; however, by June 2019, it had reached to Rs71.44 per kg. The previous government had also granted an export subsidy of Rs5.35 per kg.

The PSMA claims that about two million metric tonnes of surplus sugar is available in the country and the demanding the export of surplus stock. The PSMA has conditioned the start of the sugarcane crushing in the country to export permits.