KUCHING: Eight more food and beverage manufacturers in Sarawak have been given permits to import sugar to reduce their production costs.
However, Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen said the sugar they import must be used only to process their products and cannot be re-sold to customers.
With the issuance of the permits, he said the F&B manufacturers were able to save 10% to 20% in costs.
He said more manufacturers, especially those from small and medium enterprises (SMEs), should apply for the permits so that they can obtain sugar cheaper and be more competitive.
Previously, F&B manufacturers in Sarawak were not allowed to import sugar and had to obtain their supplies from the local sugar refineries, MSM Malaysia Holdings Sdn Bhd and Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd.
They had to pay between RM2.60 and RM2.70 per kg of sugar despite the low international price, Chong told a press conference here today.
He said the two refineries had been unwilling to lower their selling price because of the volume and transportation costs.
“At present, the international price is RM1.40 per kg for raw sugar and RM1.80 for refined sugar,” he said.
The government first announced in December that the F&B manufacturers could apply to the ministry to import sugar directly from overseas.
Following that, a permit was issued to one manufacturer.
Chong said the policy would hopefully lead the refineries to reduce the price of sugar supplied to F&B manufacturers.
He said it was also part of the government’s efforts to break the monopoly in several sectors.