Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday spoke about the soaring sugar prices in Pakistan, saying that Sindh shutting down three mills all of a sudden contributed to the hike in the price of the commodity.
His remarks came during an address at a ceremony in Attock.
“The price of sugar in Pakistan has hit Rs140 per kg. I inquired why this was so. I learnt that three sugar mills in Sindh which were operational were shut down,” the prime minister said.
The premier said that when sugarcane crushing season begins in Pakistan, sugarcane is first taken to sugar mills from Sindh and then later from Punjab.
He said that when the three sugar mills in Sindh shut down, there was a sudden drop in supply and then prices rose to Rs140 per kg.
The prime minister went on to say that he subsequently learnt that due to the reduced supply, the sugar mills in Punjab began to hoard the commodity.
“I told the chief secretary that our law forbids hoarding and so if the sugar mills are doing so, we must retrieve the stock and bring it out to the market so the price drops.
“We found out that since July, the sugar mills have obtained a stay order against the rule. And so our government was unable to do anything,” PM Imran Khan said.
The prime minister said that it was further discovered that the Competition Commission of Pakistan had charged the mills with fines worth Rs40 billion after they were found to have hoarded sugar through cartelisation. “They obtained a stay order against that too,” he said.
PM Imran Khan, in further criticism of the sugar mills, said that they had gone so far as to even obtain stay orders against the Rs500bn in taxes that they were charged by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for selling sugar “off books”, which was discovered by the Sugar Commission that conducted a probe into the country’s recent sugar crisis.
The prime minister instructed Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, the law minister and the advocate general to immediately have the stay orders vacated.
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