PTI govt’s decision to export sugar despite shortage created 2018 crisis

Pakistan had to import the commodity to meet local demand
<p>Photo: Online</p>

Photo: Online

The Economic Coordination Committee’s (ECC) decision to allow the export of sugar in 2018 led to a sugar crisis in the country, reveals documents submitted by the Ministry of Industries and Production.

The documents were submitted in reply to questions posed by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Shazia Marri.

The report said that sugar prices in the country skyrocketed due to the difference in demand and supply.

The documents show that in 2017-18, the total production of sugar was 6.61million metric tons (MMT) while the local consumption stood at 5.2MMT.

Subsequently, production fell by over 20 percent to 5.26MMT while the demand jumped to 5.43MMT, a gap of 0.17MMT.

Despite low production and higher demand in the country, the ECC in October 2018 allowed the export of sugar.

When the PTI government was unable to control the price hike in the domestic market due to the demand-supply gap, it had no choice but to import sugar.

The ministry this situation for the increase in sugar prices.

It further noted that in recent years, sugar production has witnessed drastic reduction, leading to a widening demand-supply gap and driving up prices.

Another factor affecting high price of sugar in the domestic market has been the higher price paid to sugarcane farmers which has increased cost of sugar.

In last four years, the prices of essential commodities have increased significantly but the highest increase was recorded in the prices of edible oil and sugar.

The price of palm oil, the raw material for the edible vanaspati oil and ghee, have all doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, driving prices of edible oil and ghee to record highs in the country, the ministry said.



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