ISLAMABAD The Government is all set to drop another sugar bomb on the helpless consumers, as it is likely to increase the commodity prices by Rs 15 per kg at Utility Stores Corporation (USC) outlets in the next few days. We want to reduce the price gap between open market and state-run stores, which is around Rs 30 per kg presently, and in this regard we had prepared a summary seeking Rs 15 per kg hike in the commodity price, said an official of Ministry of Industries and Production on the condition of anonymity. The summary is being moved to the cabinet secretariat for approval. The commodity is available at Rs 85 per kg in open market while it cost at USC outlets is Rs 55 per kg, and the Ministry wants to reduce this gap, he said and added that summary is being prepared in the wake of Ministerial Committees decision. The Ministerial Committee on Sugar headed by Minister for Industries and Production Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani in July 2010 agreed that price difference would be not more than Rs 10 per kg at USC outlets from the average market price prevailing in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. Keeping this decision in view, the Government is likely to increase the price of the commodity by Rs 15 per kg and this recommendation would be approved in the coming days. Meanwhile Sugar Advisory Board (SAB) meeting was held here today. Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Federal Minister for Industries and Production, chaired the meeting. The meeting was given a detailed presentation by Cane Commissioner MINFA on the post flood situation. He informed that sugar production in 2010-11 would be around 3.1 million tonnes. The crushing season was expected to start November 15 onwards. It was decided that beet sugar, as already approved in the Sugar Policy 2009, be promoted and MINFA was to come up with concrete proposals in this regard. It was decided that TCP would start off loading 50,000 tonnes of sugar every ten days in the open market through tenders. The total quantity to be offloaded would be 250,000 tonnes by middle of December while the remaining 400,000 tonnes would be kept for USC interventions and as strategic reserves. The existing sugar imported and domestic stocks stood at approximately 500,000 tonnes, which were sufficient till end November while 300,000 tons are being imported and will reach by end-November, and 100,000 tonnes by end-December. Moreover, Punjab and Sindh provided progress reports on linking sugarcane price to sucrose content. PSMA said that some mills were already equipped with proper laboratories, while Punjab had set up mobile units as well. PSMA also said it would encourage the propagation of higher sucrose content varieties while safeguarding the present level of protection given to the growers. The meeting stressed upon a transparent methodology to determine the sucrose premium, preferably through a third party mechanism. The State Bank of Pakistan would provide a template for Cane Purchase Receipt (CPR) in language and with provisions that complied with banking instrument requirements in two weeks in consultation with Pakistan Banks Association (PBA) so that it could be used in the current season as a negotiable instrument. The State Bank of Pakistan also reported that around 80,000 tons of white and 70,000 tons of raw sugar was being imported by the private sector.