KARACHI - Finally an upward trend has been witnessed in the sugar prices as ex-mill rate of commodity has increased to Rs 24 per kg in the country, The Nation learnt on Thursday. Earlier the ex-mill rate of the white sweetener was Rs 22.50 per kg including sales tax last week which has gone up further this week as the manufacturers were raising hue and cry over declining domestic prices of the commodity. At least 50 paisa to one rupee traditional gap persists in the ex-mill and retail rate of the sugar. However, a wide gap of Rs 4 to Rs 6/kg is being witnessed in the ex-mill and retail prices shows the margin of profit being mopped up by the whole-sale and retail dealers. After recent increase in the ex-mill price of sugar, the retail price of the commodity would reach near Rs 30/kg and may be above this price benchmark, dealers said. The sugar price in international market was witnessed by $350 dollar per ton while according to market analysts, this upward trend in the prices of white sweetener will further increase. A representative of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association while talking to The Nation said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in a recent meeting with a delegation of sugar mill  had issued directives to procure 0.2 million tons sugar from mills through Trading Corporation Pakistan. The finance minister took this decision without consultation and meeting with office bearers of PSMA which is a matter of concern for the industry, he said adding that present government is also continuing same ill-conceived approach to the lingering issue of sugar as taken by previous Shaukat Aziz government. He said that the new government invited sugar millers of their choice and took the decision of buying sugar without taking on board the PSMA. The representative of PSMA who belongs to Punjab further told that the TCP procured around 0.5 million tons sugar of current season from mills so far while around 0.2 million tons sugar which imported during previous government was also kept in the stocks of TCP. Giving the detail of current stocks of sugar in the country PSMA office bearer said, at least 0.7 million tons stocks of sugar kept lying with TCP presently while more than 2.4 million tons stocks of sugar are lying with mils. Keeping in view the monthly country wide consumption of 0.35 million tons sugar, the total consumption would be around 1.8 million tons till the start of next crushing season of sugar cane crop, he said and added, at least 0.6 million tons sugar would be surplus with mills while the sugar which procured  by TCP would also be in surplus. The government should procure 0.5 million tons sugar from mills immediately which could be a right step in salvation of persisting sugar crisis, PSMA representative Wajid Arain said adding that mills to owe billion of rupees of farmers which were remaining as dues of sugar cane they provide to mills. He suggested that keeping the buffer stocks for consumption of country government should procure sugar from mills. The government should export the surplus stocks of sugar which will be a source of foreign exchange in national exchequer while it can be help in reduction of increasing trade deficit on other side, he maintained.