KARACHI - Sugar mills of the country have not paid the arrears of Rs45 billion to the growers who have supplied sugarcane to mills during this crushing season, The Nation learnt. Sources said that the sugar mills were not paying their dues to the growers on the pretext that they were facing financial crunch due to low domestic prices, as a result the mills owed overall a some of Rs 45 billion to the growers. They said that the mills have also informed the government and the farmers that they (the mills) are presently in no position to pay Rs 45 billion. The ex-mill rate of white sweet was Rs22.50 per kg in Punjab and Rs22 pr kg in Sindh on Tuesday. The cost of production with sales tax and excise duty on per kg was higher than ex mill rate of Rs22.50 per kg, claimed a representative of Sugar Mills Association. Due to much disparity of price in sugarcane and its input, the sugar mills are suffered huge losses in terms of finance. The sugar manufacturers have estimated Rs 23-24 per kg minimum cost of production of sugar as against the current ex-mill price of Rs 22.50/kg. Due to less price of sugar, neither the sugar industry was in a position to pay Rs 45 billion to sugarcane growers of their dues of current season nor the industry would be able to meet its obligations of loans repayments to the banks debts, said former president of PSMA Sindh zone Abdul Wajid Arain. He said millers have suffered huge losses in current crushing season as government was not ready to increase the prices of the commodity. Giving a reason of wrong policies of Shaukat Aziz government he said, government had imported one million tone sugar against shortage of 0.5 million tones on Rs40 per kg while just after started of current crushing season government spent Rs15 billion on subsidy on imported sugar, it started to offload TCP stocks of sugar at Rs 24/kg and now at Rs18/kg which crashed the market prices of sugar in the country. He said the current sugar prices had been the lowest in the past five years and that the market had crashed because of the wrong policies of previous government. "During fixation of minimum price of Rs67-40kg and Rs60-40kg current season crushing in Sindh and Punjab respectively, the government had made commitment with sugar millers that ex mill rate would be increased to Rs 29.50 per kg through the mechanism of Trade Corporation Pakistan but Shaukat Aziz government did not fulfill its promise," he reminded.    While another representative of PSMA said after formation of present government, the Sugar Advisory Board during a meeting with stake holders of sugar industry had agreed to purchase 0.5 million tones of sugar from mill owners through Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) at Rs 29.50-per kg as against the existing price of Rs 22.50 per kg but it has not been implemented by present government. Predicting a serious crisis in sugar and sugarcane during current and next year he warned that if government would not increase the sugar prices, the millers would not be able to run their mills in next crushing season.