ISLAMABAD: All efforts of the government to reduce sugar prices likely to go in vain as it sugar prices increase by 7.2% in one week.
The Pakistan Sugar Millers Association warned the government that if preemptive measures are not taken the sugar price can again cross 100 rupees per kg soon.
Chairman of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association Iskander Khan in a letter to Prime Minister Imran said that the government directed the sugar industry to commence crushing operation 15 to 20 days before the designated date of November 30, 2020, as per Sugar Factories Control Act 1950. As a result, the low recovery sugarcane has deprived the country of approximately 0.3 million tons of sugar.
The PSMA chairman said that the government has assured that the middlemen will not be allowed to operate this season and the support price of Rs 200 per 40 kg of sugarcane will be ensured for an affordable price of Rs 75 per kg of sugar at the retail level. “The Cane Commissioners of all the provinces have failed to uproot middleman, as a result, sugarcane price has reached over Rs 270 to Rs 300 per 40 kg, that will further push the sugar prices to cross Rs 100 per kg,” he warned.
In the letter, Iskander Khan said that the international market is expecting a shortage of sugar and the prices will increase day by day. “We have highlighted this at the recently held Sugar Advisory Board meeting that even raw sugar will sell at Rs 95 per kg after its refinement,’ he remarked. He pointed out though the area of the crop has increased, however, its yield and recovery have decreased and to avert any shortage of sugar, the government need to ensure that in Peshawar, 150,000 tons of sugar should not be lost due to non-implementation of Gur Control Act 1948, which only allows 25% of sugarcane for Gur production. However, now 100% of the sugarcane is being diverted for tax-free Commercial Gur production in Peshawar which is then smuggled to Afghanistan.
Iskander Khan requested the Prime Minister to ensure availability of sugarcane to the sugar mills at government’s notified rate to bring down the sugar retail price.
It may be mentioned here that in the last month the average price of sugar at the retail level increased in a range of Rs 12 to Rs 15 to reach Rs 90 to 95 per kg. According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics sugar prices increased by 15.3% in December on a year-on-year basis and on the week ending on January 7 it hiked by 7.2% on a weekly basis.