Businessmen oppose the import of sugar

  • June 28, 2009
Mian Shaukat Masud, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) in a statement expressed grave concerns over unbridled import of sugar despite the fact that country was not facing any shortage of sugar. He said being an agricultural country; Pakistan was importing sugar which proved more costly for consumers apart from pushing up current account deficit of the country.

The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has so far imported 150,000 tons sugar while the Ministry of Industries & Production was pressing for further import of 94,000 tons of sugar.

Mian Shaukat said the federal government has already spent approximately $50 million valuable foreign exchange on the import of expensive sugar that was not required to meet domestic demand and stressed that Government should prefer to procure lower priced sugar from the domestic market rather than putting unnecessary extra burden on national exchequer.

He said according to Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) sources, millers and the state-owned TCP together held more than 2 million tons of sugar in stocks which should be sufficient to meet domestic needs until December when new crop output will start reaching the market.

As per PSMA figures, sugar’s average consumption has gone down from 358,000 tones per month last year to 294,000 tones and the country will be consuming 600,000 tones less sugar this year even if its average monthly consumption level reaches up to 300,000 tones. Therefore, there was no need of importing expensive sugar.

ICCI President also expressed reservations over TCP’s agreement with Emirates Global Islamic Bank to avail credit line to the tune of Rs.3-billion for importing 50,000 metric tones of sugar though the country was not faced with any sugar crisis. He said import of commodities with loans that were available domestically would further increase country’s rising external debt which has already touched $50-billion.

Mian Shaukat Masud stressed upon the government to facilitate the sugarcane growers and millers through different incentives to ensure availability of sugar in domestic market. He said Government should also take measures to deal with the phenomenon of sugar hoarding and profiteering to tackle the shortage problems.