The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has asked the government to allow independent chartered accountants to set the ex-mill sugar price in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa instead of the provincial governments fixing the price.
FPCCI President, Nasir Hyatt Maggo, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying, “If the Federal Government wants to fix the price of sugar, the task may be assigned to four independent chartered accountant firms instead of government functionaries.”
The chamber members believe that independent contractors should be hired for the job for determining retail sugar prices in both provinces as sugar prices have been already exorbitantly increased.
The Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) Punjab Zone has already rejected the rates calculated by the federal and provincial governments for fixing sugar prices.
The statement read, “Pakistan Sugar Mills Association must be taken onboard for all such processes. Otherwise, it will have adverse effects on the sugar industry not only during the current year but next year and beyond could prove to be a disaster.”
The hike in sugar prices may be traced back to the government’s decision to export sugar. It caused a shortage in the country, which led the government to import sugar at a cost of approximately $45 million.
The excessively high price of sugarcane crushing in the country has also added to this increase in sugar prices.
The cost of production in the Punjab sugar mills reached Rs. 106 per as opposed to the Punjab government’s support price of Rs. 200 per 40-kilogram.
The industry players are also aggrieved over the provincial government not taking any action against the middlemen involved in the increase of sugarcane prices, the letter noted. Copies of the letter have also been sent to the Finance Minister, Minister of Industries and Production, Commerce Adviser, and Punjab Chief Minister.
FPCCI President said that the provincial governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa fixed the support price of sugarcane at Rs. 200 per 40kg, even though the procurement price was up to Rs. 360 per 40kg. This resulted in sugar mills in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa paying Rs. 85 billion and Rs. 7 billion extra for procurement, respectively.
Now, the ministry of industries has once again started to determine the price of sugar unilaterally, without taking the sugar mills or stakeholders on board.
“Such unilateral fixation of prices is inflicting heavy losses to sugar mills, which may result in non-payment to growers, government and bankruptcy of sugar mills,” the FPCCI President said.