ISLAMABAD Government is considering to allow duty free import of 0.5 million tons of ra-w sugar till the November 30-th in a bid to break the mono-poly of local sugar millers to augment existing stocks. Available documents with TheNation revealed that the Ministerial Committee on sugar recommended duty free import of 500,000 tons of raw sugar till the 30th November, 2010 on first come first served basis with a view to start the next crushing season early and to suitably augment the existing stocks in the current season. Furthermore, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet constituted a Ministerial Committee comprising Minister for Industries & Production (Convener) and Minister for Commerce, Food & Agriculture, Petroleum & Natural Resources, Science & Technology, Minister of State for Finance & Economic Affairs, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Secretary Commerce Division, Secretary Finance Division (members) and Secretary Industries & Production to review and critically examine the availability of sugar and stock position up to December 2010 and beyond. Additionally the committee would examine and make specific recommendations after meeting the sugar millers, for import of raw sugar to meet the future demand and to encourage and suggest measures to involve private sector in import on sugar. While talking to TheNation, Chairman Pakistan Sugar Miller Association (PSMA), Iskandar Khan said that he had written a letter to the government in August 2008 where he had suggested that it should import raw sugar at any cost to have sufficient buffer sugar stock of 7 lakh tons at hand to cater the country demand but no one paid heed to my humble suggestion to end black marketing in the market. Further, he informed that at present around 6 lakh tons of sugar stock was available with the millers while a physical stock of 8 to 9 lakh tons was at governments hand. Further, responding to question, the Chairman PSMA was of the opinion that a great quantity of sugar would be available during the holy month of 'Ramazan so there would be no chance of its price hike or artificial crisis in the country. Again, Iskandar Khan advised the government to satisfy the reservations of sugarcane farmers and to set the prices of sugarcane according to the quality of its crop. However, it is important to note that well-placed sources in Industries Ministry have conformed that during the ECC meeting on July 29 last, TCP has also pointed out that it has no funds to establish letter of credits (LCs) for the tenders to be opened on 30th July and 7th August 2010 and requested for provision thereof. Utility Store Corporation (USC) has also informed that, if the prices of sugar are not increased during 'Ramazan and subsequently, then the Corporation will be facing problems of leakages and black marketing. Moreover, due to upward revision of prices, the subsidy will also be decreased substantially. It is also pertinent to mention here that, if import of raw sugar is allowed before crushing season, it may depress the prices of sugarcane leading to less return to farmers.