The Federal Cabinet is considering finalization of Sugar Reforms under a new policy that requires sugar brokers, dealers and wholesalers to register with a national tax number (NTN) and tax registration number (STRN) linked to their bank account with Online automated inventory management system.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry told the media that the government has submitted a comprehensive report on the new sugar reform policy. The minister said that before a final decision is made, the report will be submitted for public discussion within three weeks.

In the report, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the Federal Tax Agency (FBR) and the provincial governments recommended the creation of joint stakeholder inspection teams, including the respective bank, to inspect the pledged shares every three months.

If violations / deficiencies are found, the case can be referred to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to initiate a criminal case for failure to act. It is recommended that sales tax be levied on the actual selling price of sugar through the SRO adjusted for FBR.

The policy also aims to prevent tax evasion, Benami sales, undocumented transactions and other unfair practices in the sugar industry by establishing a monitoring and tracking system.

As per the draft policy, Registration is recommended to be mandatory for brokers, sugar traders and wholesalers with NTN and STRN linked to their bank accounts, as well as mandatory home registration and online automated inventory management.

The verification system is recommended to be strengthened to ensure that sugar does not remain continuous after the end of a futures contract. The new legislation applies in particular to satta (speculation), physical or online, sugar and other goods. These futures contracts should not be hidden.

To report accurate sugar data to the federal government, FBR is encouraged to develop a digital inventory dashboard where inventory data from county sugarcane owners can also be regularly reported to the Department of Industry and Manufacturing.

Other recommended areas include sugarcane crop growing / purchasing, sugarcane crushing / processing, storage and sale in sugar factories, wholesale and retail trade, and demand pressures and sugar export / import.

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