THE Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) Thursday approved a summary presented by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research regarding the export of sugar fulfilling the demand of sugar mill owners but there are legitimate apprehensions that the decision can hike the price of the essential commodity for local consumers.
It is said that the committee directed the Pakistan Sugar Mill Association (PSMA), and they also committed, to ensure that the existing price of sugar will not increase in the domestic market for at least till 31 January 2023.
The pricing and export of sugar have been the issues of serious concern for consumers and that is why the government took considerable time in accepting the demand of the sugar millers for export of the commodity.
It is because in the past sugar was allowed to be exported on manipulated data about its availability and consumption and the export led to the shortage of sugar and hike in its price.
The government was then forced to allow import of sugar and it became a scam during the period of the previous regime.
It is hoped that the Ministry of Food Security and other relevant institutions might have done their homework well and the decision to allow export of sugar would not lead to its shortage in the local market where prices are already high.
The prices are set to increase further and this is also indirectly acknowledged by the government when it asked PSMA to ensure prices do not increase at least till the end of next month.
Sugar production, its availability in the market and prices are manipulated by vested interests but regrettably so far the State has not been able to evolve an effective mechanism to safeguard interests of both the farmers and consumers.