The government has to pay more than Rs. 13 billion additionally for importing 200,000 tons of expensive sugar.
According to the Cane Commissioner’s Office, the government is importing sugar at Rs. 114 per kg, and intends to sell it to consumers at Rs. 90 per kg, with customers given Rs. 5.60 billion as a subsidy at the rate of Rs. 28 per kg. Dealers will be sold imported sugar at Rs. 86 per kg.
The country has to pay an additional Rs. 7.60 billion due to an increase in the price of imported sugar. Last year, sugar was imported at the cost of Rs. 76 per kg.
The inflated cost is partly due to delays in the government’s decision to import sugar.
So far, three ships carrying 30,000 tons of imported sugar each have reached Karachi port. Meanwhile, a fourth ship carrying another 30,000 tons will reach Karachi on October 12.
In addition, three ships containing 25,000 tons of sugar each will reach Karachi port on October 19, October 26, and November 2, respectively.
Out of the 200,000 tons of imported sugar, 50,000 was given to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, while the remaining 150,000 tons was given to the Punjab government.
However, dealers have questioned the quality of the imported sugar and have preferred to buy from domestic sugar mills instead. Similarly, consumers have also given preference to buy locally produced sugar.
Cane Commissioner Punjab, Muhammad Zaman Wattoo, said that half of the subsidy on imported sugar would be provided by the federal government, while the remaining half would be given to the Punjab government.
In Punjab, sugar mills currently have about 250,000 tons of sugar in stock. However, the district administration has decided not to purchase from the mills.
Sugar mills have decided to start the sugarcane crushing process from November 10 in South Punjab and from November 15 in Central Punjab. In contrast, sugar mills in Sindh have decided to start the crushing process at the end of October.
Meanwhile, the government is also consulting sugar mills over starting the process of sugarcane crushing. The Punjab Sugarcane Board is scheduled to convene on October 15 to discuss the issue.