PSMA wants govt to take stakeholders on board

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Staff Reporter

The Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) has urged the government to investigate and evaluate the recent sugar thoroughly in a logical manner with wisdom.

The PSMA claimed that it had repeatedly said since the beginning of crushing season that buying expensive sugarcane will increase the price of sugar.

As the price of sugarcane rises throughout the season, so do the prices of sugar.

Now the government has suddenly fixed the price of sugar at Rs80, which is by no means appropriate, though a committee headed by Adviser to Prime Minister Waqar Masood has not yet fixed the price of sugar.

The PSMA argued that sugar mills bought sugarcane at an average price of Rs265 to Rs285 per quintal, so how it will be now possible to supply sugar to market on cheaper rates.

The supply of sugar in the market is also severely affected as sugar brokers, dealers and retailers are under investigation by the FIA and cannot do any business, buy sugar from mills or supply in the market. Under the March order, the Punjab government has enacted a law to register dealers.

Due to its strict provisions, there are objections to the registration of dealers and those who are registered are also facing uncertainty in the market and they also fear that later the FIA, FBR and the district administration could initiate disciplinary action against, which will hurt business.

In the recent season, Sugar Mills bought sugarcane worth about Rs380 billion from the farmers of Punjab out of which Rs372 billion was paid to the farmers on time.
While the payment of remaining Rs8 billion is also being expedited.

Despite this, strict notices are being sent to the sugar mills by the government while the sale and delivery of sugar has been suspended due to actions taken against dealers.

Mills are not receiving money due to non-sale of cash and it is becoming very difficult to maintain cash flow. Payments to farmers are also being delayed due to cash flow being affected.

And there are severe difficulties in paying income tax, sales tax and local tax. Due to this uncertainty, the limits given by the banks are also being asked to be adjusted.

And financial spending is under pressure. The PSMA stressed that sugar mills are a national industry and the government should decide about all matters in the light of ground realities in consultation with stakeholders to resolve sugar crisis and provide relief to the common man.