Pakistan delays decision on sugar exports

Islamabad: Amid ongoing scrutiny over the wheat import scandal, the Pakistan government is proceeding cautiously regarding sugar exports. On Wednesday, it once again withheld permission for sugar export, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive assessment of the current stock situation before making a decision. The government stated that this decision will involve consultations with multiple government agencies and departments, reported Pakistani media.

The Sugar Advisory Board (SAB), which includes representatives from federal and provincial governments as well as the sugar industry, convened on Wednesday with Federal Minister for Industries and Production Rana Tanveer Hussain presiding. Federal Minister for Commerce Jam Kamal Khan and other stakeholders, including the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA), Kissan Ittehad, and provincial representatives, were also in attendance.

The Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, and Ministry for Industries and Production (MoI&P) are notably under scrutiny following a wheat import scandal that has significantly affected wheat growers in Punjab. Several senior officials from the Ministry of National Food Security and Research have been dismissed on suspicion of involvement in the wheat import scheme.

During the meeting, participants reviewed the availability of sugar stock, current market prices, sugarcane rates, global sugar prices, and industry production costs.

Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain emphasized that the government would decide on sugar exports after consulting all relevant departments, stressing that protecting domestic consumers is the government’s primary responsibility. He also noted that if sugar exports are permitted, the industry must ensure domestic price stability. The PSMA, advocating for exports, informed the meeting that Pakistan currently has around 1.5 million tons of surplus sugar that should be exported. However, the government remains cautious, given past instances where the PSMA caused shortages and increased prices, according to an official who attended the meeting. The official also mentioned that the PSMA claimed they would be unable to pay growers without export permission. Rana Tanveer Hussain reiterated that increases in sugar prices directly affect the public and stressed that local demand for sugar must be met before considering exports to earn foreign reserves.


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