LAHORE  - The Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile has suggested the government to restore subsidy on the export of sugar to earn precious foreign exchange, besides ensuring timely payment to the growers.

The committee, which met with Haji Ghulam Ali in the chair, discussed the implementation proposal for trade policy 2012-15 and the matter of trade commercial officers in foreign countries. It also reviewed the open trade agreement with different countries.

Senator Islamudin Sheikh said, “We need a comprehensive plan to revive the sugar industry in the country and support the farmers and business community.” Commenting on the proposal of the committee, PSMA former chairman Javed Kayani observed that senate standing committee has taken a pragmatic approach in view of outstanding payments to growers. Price of sugar has come to a level where it has become practically impossible to discharge liabilities relating to banks and growers.

Our neighboring country India is also confronted with similar situation and their government is supporting the industry by giving a subsidy of 54 dollars per ton besides 66 billion interest free loan. Government should address the problems of industry to encourage investment in bagasse based power cogeneration, he suggested.

Javed Kayani said that currently there is a surplus sugar of one million tons against which we asked for export of 500,000 tons with the incentive of SRO 77 and inland freight support to compete in the international market. The remaining 500,000 tons should be kept as a strategic reserves for open market intervention in the event of price spiral, he added.

During the meeting, Senator Haji Ghulam Ali urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to evolve a comprehensive strategy to facilitate the foreign investors and local business community. He said the FBR should follow the court decisions. Senator Haji Ghulam Ali said peace in the country, particularly in Khyber Puktunkhwa and other areas, was necessary to revive the business activities and create job opportunities for local youth. He directed to the Ministry of Commerce to evolve a strategy for explore the natural resources hidden in different areas of the country in coordination with provincial governments.