KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday chaired cabinet’s meeting here in Karachi. The cabinet discussed several issues including the dispute between the growers and sugar millers over the sugarcane prices and decided to allow the agriculture department to make another effort to find out a workable solution by bringing the stakeholders across the table.
Minister for Agriculture and Home Sohail Siyal briefed the cabinet and said that in the light of Sugarcane Control Board, the minimum price of sugarcane was fixed at Rs182 per 40 kg which was challenged by the sugar millers in the high court. The court directed the agriculture department to try to settle the dispute between the growers and millers and come up with a solution.
The Minister said that he held a number of meetings with growers and the millers. The growers demanded Rs216 per 40kg while the millers remained stuck up at Rs132 per 40 kg. The agriculture department proposed to fix minimum price at Rs142/kg but both the parties did not agree to it.
Again another meeting was held in which Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) proposed Rs153/40 kg. Following this proposal, the sugarcane growers said that the minimum price may be fixed at Rs160/40kg and government of Sindh may allow subsidy of Rs12/40 kg to correspond with the rate of Rs172/40 kg as was allowed in 2014-15.
The cabinet discussed the matter and finally said that the provincial government could not allow the subsidy.
The agriculture department was directed to hold another meeting with the stakeholders and try to find out a workable solution to the dispute as advised by the court.
Another item the cabinet discussed and approved was the amendment in the Sindh Public Private Partnership Act of 2010. The chief minister told the cabinet that the Sindh government has requested the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to expand and improve Public-Private Partnership (PPPs) projects (PPPs) in Sindh. The ADB is expected to support Sindh government to develop a more financially sustainable and fiscally responsible PPP projects.
The chief minister said that the total project value is $184.13 million in which ADB would contribute $100 million, Sindh government will contribute $64.90 million as counterpart funding and UK’s Department For International Development will be contributing the remaining $19.23 million as a grant. The project has been approved by Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) and subsequently the loan and project agreements have been signed.
The chief minister said that considering the recent developments, certain amendments are required to be incorporated in the Sindh Public Private Partnership Act of 2010 to provide legal functionality to these projects.