ISLAMABAD           -       The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Thursday has notified to exempt the import of 0.3 million metric tonnes of white sugar from the taxes and duties. The FBR has issued two different notifications in this regard, which stated that government has exempted the 0.3 million metric tonnes imported sugar from the taxes and duties. The government had allowed importing of 300,000 metric tonnes white sugar to maintain strategic reserves, stabilise prices of sugar and prevent any possible shortfall at the end of this crop year 2019-20.

Sugar prices are continuously increasing in the country by reaching around Rs110 per kg in different parts of the country. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, in last month gave go-ahead to a proposal by the Ministry of Industries and Production for import of up to 300,000 metric tonnes of refined white sugar to maintain buffer stocks and prevent any shortage of sugar in the coming months before the start of next crushing season.

The ECC also considered a proposal by the Ministry of Industries and Production for import of refined sugar by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to maintain buffer stocks, and allowed import of up to 300,000 metric tonnes of white sugar through a mode of procurement and other modalities to be decided by a three-member committee comprising Secretary Industries and Production, Secretary Commerce and Secretary Finance. The ECC also asked the Committee to seek input from the Law Division on the preferred mode of procurement and report to ECC in its next meeting.

Ministry of Industries and Production informed the ECC that a meeting of Sugar Advisory Board (SAB) was held on March 18, 2020, during which it was observed that normal consumption pattern @ 0.442 million tonnes per month would mean that the estimated available stock of sugar amounting to 5.634 million tonnes would be adequate till December 2020 and there would be a remaining balance of 0.296 million tonnes at the time of the next crushing season. During the meeting it was decided that there were ample stocks and balance at the end of the crop year would be 0.271 million tonnes @ 0.442 million tonnes/ month average, normal off-take /consumption pattern.

However, the current stock position showed a drastic reduction of stocks by 50 per cent as compared to the last meeting which meant that the stocks declined from 3.365 million tonnes to 1.685 million tonnes. As a result of this unusual decline the stocks’ would last only till mid-November 2020, which was before the start of next crushing season. Therefore, the ECC had agreed to allow import of up to 300,000 MT sugar.