ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has given approval to ban export of sugar after the prices of sugar surged to over record Rs170 per kg in the local market.
Caretaker Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs and Privatization Dr. Shamshad Akhtar on Monday chaired the meeting of the ECC.
According to details, the Ministry of National Food Security & Research submitted a summary regarding cancellation of export quota of sugar with a ban on export of sugar.
Sources said that the price of sugar in the month of April 2023 started increasing, despite the fact the country had a carry over stock of sugar 0.99 MMT from the previous year and a bumper crop of sugarcane during the current year 2022-23.
The continuous increase in price of the essential commodity compelled the MNFSR to fix the price of sugar under the law. Taking notice of this increase, the sugar Advisory Board in its meeting dated April 17, 2023 after consultation with the stakeholders approved fixation of price of sugar at Rs98.82 kg.
However, this was challenged in the Lahore High court and status quo is maintained in pursuance of the court order which is assailed in LHC and SCP.
The price of sugar is increasing continuously in the market, thus causing stress to law income consumers and increasing the food inflation. The FBR has reported on August 15, 2023 that 2.27 mmt of sugar is left in stocks which would hardly meet the domestic consumption requirements till the start of next crushing season.
The provincial government of Sindh has increased the Indicative Price of sugarcane at Rs425/40 kg enhancing the price by 41% over the last year. This will further induce pressure on the price of sugar as the industry and the stockists will hoard the commodity for profiteering.
It is worth mentioning that the total quota was distributed amongst the provinces on the basis of ECC’s decision by the MoC. Sugar mills of sindh assailed allocation of quota in the SHC, Sindh. The remaining export quota was to be utilized by the sugar mills of Sindh up to 12/08/2023 but apparently sugar is exported after the date fixed by the court.
In view of the above facts, it is suggested that ECC may kindly review its decision made earlier regarding the export of sugar and cancel the remaining quota already allocated to the sugar industry and impose a ban on export of sugar in future.
According to the Finance Division, the ECC further directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to prepare and submit regular reports on availability of sugar stocks, consumption, and pricing to the ECC in order to enable it to monitor the availability and pricing of this important commodity.
The ECC also directed the Ministry of NFSR to coordinate with all the relevant agencies and authorities to check smuggling and hoarding of sugar. Furthermore, the ECC also asked the Ministry of NFSR to provide the latest stock, availability and prices of Wheat immediately.