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ECC approves one million tons of sugar exports

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Tuesday allowed one million tons of sugar exports to ease sweetener surplus in the country, without giving any incentives on overseas sales.
Finance Minister Asad Umar took the decision at a meeting of the ECC. The ECC, after detailed discussion, approved the proposal from the Commerce Division for export of one million metric tons of surplus sugar.
“No freight or financial support will be provided to millers/exporters by the federal/provincial governments in this regard,” the ministry of finance said in a statement. Sugar millers have long been demanding the government to allow export of surplus sweetener before the beginning of new crushing season.
Sources said stocks of surplus sugar stood at 1.9 million tons. The price of sugar in international market in rupee term went up almost 20 percent in the aftermath of gains achieved with devaluation of rupee against dollar.
“So there is no requirement for provision of any subsidy amount for exporting surplus sugar of one million tons,” an official said. Local traders and experts view export permission without subsidy is “a baseless intervention”.
“Without subsidy it is difficult to encourage sugar millers to export,” a senior industry official said, requesting anonymity. Anis Majeed, chairman of Karachi Wholesale Grocers Association said there is a surplus in the local market and “the exports could go beyond (the approved limit)”.
Majeed said local cost of an estimated $400/ton is higher than the international market. Last year, the government gave more than $100/ton of export subsidy. The government constituted a vigilance committee to keep track of local market situation to avert any shortage.
“An inter-ministerial committee will have fortnightly meetings to review sugar stock, export and price situation,” the finance ministry said. Australia and Brazil, however, recently joined forces to accost the World Trade Organization against the subsidy on sugar exports from India, set to take over as the world’s largest sugar producer this year.
ECC also approved revision of cess rates of tobacco for the year 2018/19 as determined by the Pakistan Tobacco Board. Prices of various types of tobacco are fixed every year and cess rates are also revised.
The committee also approved disbursement of Rs375 million on account of net salary for the employees of Pakistan Steel Mill August. ECC directed immediate formation of special committee comprising representatives from finance, power division, Auditor General of Pakistan, ministry of petroleum, the Federal Board of Revenue to address various issues relating to transfer of shares of K-Electric.
The ECC, earlier on September 3, had directed Privatisation Division to deliberate upon the issues relating to the sale of K-Electric in consultation with petroleum and power divisions. The committee now ordered formation of the special committee to further facilitate resolution of various issues.
The committee further directed ministry of law to examine the legal agreements relating to the terminals to see whether the government could revisit the terms and conditions contained therein. ECC, taking notice of a sudden hike in cement price, directed the adviser on industries to have meeting with representatives of the industry, apprise the committee of the causes of price increase and suggest possible remedies.
Source: The News