January 14, 2015 Mushtaq Ghumman – BR Report-
Commerce Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir said on Tuesday that the issue of rebate and freight subsidy on export of 0.65 million tons of sugar extended to sugar mills will be reviewed in the light of situation recently witnessed in Sindh. Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet last month approved financial incentives of Rs 6.5 billion for the sugar mills with a justification that the mills will procure sugarcane at the fixed price of Rs 182 per 40 kg.
However, sugar mills owners in Sindh refused to procure sugarcane at the fixed price and tried to force growers to sell their commodity at Rs 155 per 40 kg. When growers staged a protest across Sindh the mill owners suspended crushing. However, after intervention of provincial government crushing restarted; however, the mill owners are not willing to pay fixed rate to growers.
This entire scenario was placed before the Commerce Minister and Secretary Commerce Shehzad Arbab who were involved in preparation of a summary for rebate and freight subsidy. They maintain that the provincial government is responsible for implementing the decisions taken after mutual consultation.
When journalists attending the press conference asked why the Commerce Ministry did not submit a fresh summary to the ECC for withdrawal of incentives given to the millers as sugar mills did not procure the sugarcane at rate fixed the Commerce Minister and Secretary Commerce said that the decision would be taken by the ECC in its next meeting.