That Dáil Éireann hereby approves of the Sugar (Prohibition of Import) Order, 1950.
The Sugar (Control of Import) Act, 1936, empowers the Government to prohibit by Order the importation of sugar except under licence. Import licences may be granted to the sugar company only. The first Prohibition Order on the importation of sugar was made in May, 1936, and, since that time, the importation of sugar has been regulated by an annual Prohibition Order. The current Prohibition Order, which is the 15th Order of the series, prohibits the importation of sugar during the period from the 1st May, 1950, to the 30th April, 1951.
Section 3 of the Sugar (Control) of Import) Act, 1936, provides that every Prohibition Order shall cease to have effect at the expiration of six months from the date thereof unless the Order has been approved by resolution of the Oireachtas passed before the expiration of the said six months. The current Order was made on the 21st April, 1950, and consequently it will require to be confirmed not later than the 20th October, 1950.
There is exemption from the prohibition in the case of:—
(a) sugar not exceeding 14lbs. in weight which is intended for the personal use of the importer or of his household; and
(b) samples of sugar.
It is provided under Section 7 (4) of the Sugar (Control of Import) Act, 1936, that a fee at the rate appointed by the Minister with the consent of the Minister for Finance, shall be paid in respect of every licence which is issued authorising the importation of sugar. The object of this provision is to ensure that the sugar company, which is the sole licensee, shall not make any profit on the sale of imported sugar. Accordingly, the aim has been to appoint a fee which would be equal to the difference between (a) the amount realised by the company on the sale of imported sugar, and (b) the amount expended by the company on the purchase and handling of the sugar.
In normal times, when sugar was freely available in the world markets, it was necessary to restrict imports in the interests of the sugar factories. The annual demand is at the rate of about 100,000 tons, and our factories produced 88,700 tons in 1949. It is necessary, therefore, in the ordinary way to import sugar, and the arrangement under which it may be imported only by the sugar company enables a uniform price to be maintained.