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Sugar manufacturers urge government to check imports.

Sugar Manufacturers Urge Government to Check Imports

Pakistan sugar manufacturers urged the government to check sugar imports, especially during the operational period of the domestic industry, for saving them from irreparable losses.

They said presently sugar imports are exempt from customs duty, after the withdrawal of 10 per cent import duty from September 24, last. This removal of customs duty was mainly instrumental in sizeable booking and they feared more imports soon, they added. The sources said due to huge imports of sugar at 433,320 tonnes spending scarce foreign exchange of US dollars 160 million during 1990-91 when domestic sugar production at 1,932,150 metric tons set a new record, the sugar market was in sluggish conditions, owing to high inventory held with the industry and importers.

Buyers market conditions prevailing, if not checked, would bring despair and disaster for the sugar industry, they added. Sugar industry, according to the industry sources, was in doldrums due to no tariff protection being provided to it. In fact the present policy of the government, rendering sugar imports free of duty, while charging excessive central excise duty at Rs. 2.15 per Kg. of domestic production, meant subsidising imports, providing protection to local import trade and foreign growers, sugar industry and trade.

It was a typical case of tariff protection in reverse order, a sugar industrialist observed. The sugar industry has been agitating against this discrimination, and has presented its case study to the relevant ministries and work sheets to the tariff commission to seek redress and remedy but has been so far of no avail, they claimed. This apathy on the part of the government, sugar industrialist asserted, was placing the home industry in perils. Expressing agony, the sources lamented that cost of sugar production in Pakistan was, by and large, being determined by the government, in shape of support prices for sugarcane, excessive excise duty, tariffs of utilities and the like.

All these components accounted for production cost upto 90 per cent they said and added, in view of this fact it was an obligation of the authorities to ensure corresponding price increase of sugar in the domestic market. Instead of assessing the case of sugar industry on equitable norms, the right of economic existence and performance was being dried to the industry, they complained, by allowing unchecked subsidised duty-free sugar imports.

They said the sugar industry has suffered heavily during 1990-91 and is being once more during the current year. The imports were being allowed at a time sugar production was in top gear at home, they added. Stating the factual position, they said that the sugar industry has already commenced crushing and production during October in Sindh and has been sterned on in November in the Punjab and NWFP. Entire industry has become operational by now and rolling out sugar day by day in increasing volume as three more mills have gone into full production this time, they added.
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Title Annotation:Pakistan
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:The world economic outlook and developing countries: a review of 1990.
Next Article:Removal of export duty on yarn demanded.

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