ISLAMABAD: The government would decide whether to allow the export of sugar or not on Thursday after collecting data from provincial sugar commissioners about the availability of surplus sugar On Monday, a delegation of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) met with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and sought permission for the export of surplus sugar. Sources, on condition of anonymity, said that the PSMA delegation maintained having 1.2 million tonnes surplus stock of sugar. However, the Minister for Food Security and Research, Tariq Bashir Cheema, was against the export of sugar and was quoted as stating that already sugarcane crops is damaged by floods in Sindh, which might result in a shortfall of sugar in the country.

The meeting decided to hold another meeting on Thursday to take the final decision; meanwhile, the Ministry of Food would collect data from provincial sugar commissioners about availability of surplus sugar.

The Finance Ministry, in a statement issued after the meeting, stated that PSMA Chairman Asim Ghani Usman apprised the finance minister about the contribution of the sugar industry in the overall economic development of the country. He further briefed the meeting about the issues being faced by the sugar industry related to the GST, availability of sugar stock, and sugar export. Finance Minister Dar emphasized maintaining the strategic reserves of sugar and maintenance of prices of sugar for providing maximum relief to the masses.

He assured the PSMA chairman that the present government is well-aware of the issues being faced by the sugar industry, as well as, the sugarcane growers in Pakistan.

The finance minister has assured the delegation to address and resolve their issues at the earliest and extended full support and cooperation to the delegation.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Finance Tariq Bajwa, chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Vice Chairman PSMA Iskander Khan, Vice Chairman PSMA Ahmed Ebrahim Hasham, and senior officers from Finance Division.