Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) has requested the government to allow the export of sugar as an excess stock of the commodity is available in the country which can fetch the country up to $2 billion.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Chairman PSMA Asim Usman said that the association raised the matter during a meeting of the Sugar Advisory Board, in which Federal Ministers Tariq Cheema and Naveed Qamar also participated.
The Sugar Advisory Board was apprised of the difficulties faced by the sugar industry. It was informed that there is a surplus stock of sugar in the country and Pakistan can get a foreign exchange of $2 billion by exporting 1 million tons of sugar this year and 1 million tons next year.
However, the Sugar Advisory Board expressed indifference to allowing the export, the chairman said. He said that the government and the advisory board were invited to verify the sugar stock data themselves and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) also has the complete statistics and also reviews how much sugar is being consumed monthly.
“We do not demand subsidy on sugar because we have 1.3 million tons of sugar worth Rs. 100 billion in stock till 30th November 2022,” he added.
Former Chairman Zaka Ashraf said that one month is left for the crushing season to start. If the existing stock is not used till the next season, where will the new stock be kept and how will farmers be paid.
Chairman of Sindh Zone Ahmed Ibrahim said that the industry pays Rs. 500 to 600 billion every year to farmers on sugarcane and if sugar cannot be exported then the farmer will not be able to cultivate sugarcane. “We have not made any threats of a strike but we say that if this situation continues, the sugar mills will not be able to run,” he added.
Former chairman PSMA Aslam Farooq, Former chairman Sindh Zone Zahid Zakaria, and Chaudhry Waheed also addressed the press conference and requested Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar to give time so they can be appraised about the advantages of export of sugar.