ISLAMABAD  - Keeping in view the surplus quantity of sugar in the country, the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce on Wednesday recommended the government to export fifty percent of the additional commodity (sugar) that could prevent the sugar industry from losses.

The Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, which met under the chair of its chairman Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, was informed that country has surplus sugar worth of 2.7 million tons that could easily meet the demand of Pakistan. The committee recommended that government should allow exporting 50 percent of the surplus sugar to other countries, which could benefit the industry.  The sugar industry could be benefited by exporting surplus commodity, as its price is at $590 million per ton in the international market.

Similarly, the committee noted that government should devise a strategy that could meet the domestic needs and to exports sugar to the other countries, which would give benefit to the owners of sugar mills as well as farmers could get money on time. The committee members were of the view that government had surplus quantity of sugar but it did not allow exporting resultantly whole sector including millers and growers suffered.

The Senate body observed that lesser sugarcane production is expected in next season due to the wrong policies of the ministry of commerce, which did not export the surplus commodity. In his remarks, committee member Senator Islamuddin Shaikh recommended that commerce ministry should devise a sugar policy keeping in view its demand and supply. He said that government should allow sugar export in one time instead of exporting it in different phases. The Standing Committee also discussed the wheat related issues. The Committee chairman Senator Ghulam Ali said that flourmills of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) are facing serious problems, as one mill is getting quota of 70 bags, which is totally injustice. Therefore, the flourmills are unable to meet the demand of flour in the province. During his remarks, Chairman Committee further said that caretaker setup in KPK remained reluctant to purchase wheat from Passco; therefore the KPK province is facing severe shortage of wheat and flour, he added.

Senator Ghulam Ali further said that power crisis has already affected the industry of the province. He added that commerce ministry and Passco should resolve the problems of flourmills of the province.

The Commerce ministry turned down the proposal of committee to allow flourmills to directly purchase wheat from Passco, as officials said, “It is not possible without government involvement as its input is necessary”.

Meanwhile, the Standing Committee expressed concerns over the soaring gap between exports and imports and directed the government to formulate a policy that could increase the country’s exports. The committee Chairman said that commerce ministry should focus on Central Asian States and such other countries to enhance the country’s exports. He noted that SAARC should play active role like European Union.  Minister of State for Commerce, Textile and Privatisation Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan assured the committee that government would formulate a balance policy, which could facilitate every stakeholder and could put positive impact of the economic situation of the country.  He termed the energy crisis a major constraint in the export sector and informed that incumbent government is focusing on import of value added products adding that we will export garments rather to send raw cotton material. There are certain internal constraints but these would be settled.

Khurram further said that GSP plus status would be awarded to Pakistan in Jan 2014 and after that ban on our 6,000 items would be removed. He said that government is working to get reciprocal market access in the world. 

 The committee was briefed that energy crisis had affected the export sector of the country while owing to CNG suspension reliance on petroleum products increased to many times. Our oil imports are major contributor in import as its share is 35-40 percent.

Officials said that lack of financial resources is another reason as only Rs4.2 billion released in last three years.