General

Govt to Build Strategic Reserves of Sugar to Avoid Price Hike in Future

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet has given its nod to building strategic reserves of sugar in order to avoid price variation and increase in the future.

The federal government, as per the ECC decision, will purchase 0.30 million metric tons of sugar for the strategic reserves, while the governments of Punjab and Sindh will purchase 0.20 million metric tons from sugar mills in the current crop year at a time when the prices are low in the local market.

According to details, the Ministry of Industries & Production had floated a summary suggesting that the federal government should purchase up to 0.30 million metric tons of sugar. Similarly, it suggested the provincial governments of Punjab and Sindh purchase 0.20 million metric tons of sugar for strategic reserves from sugar mills in the current bumper crop year. As per the summary, this local purchase of sugar may be done when the prices are low in the local market. It further suggested that the purchase of sugar may be made in phases to avoid interference with market forces.

The Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) will purchase 0.15 million metric tons from the local market for domestic consumers as per the standards of the Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority. The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) will also purchase up to 0.15 million metric tons of sugar and will keep it in the government-owned warehouses. The sugar will be released on the directions of ECC.

The Finance Division will finance the purchase of up to 0.30 million metric tons of sugar. A similar advisory may be issued to the governments of Punjab and Sindh by the Ministry of Industries and Production.

The committee was informed that the Ministry of National Food Security & Research and the Commerce Division were reluctant to store sugar in their respective departments.

It was highlighted that Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar had kept himself away from this process due to a conflict of interest. Therefore, being a policy matter, the Secretary submitted the summary to ECC.

The decision of building strategic reserves of sugar was made under the direction of the National Price Monitoring Committee to avoid price variations in the future.

Source: Pro Pakistan