The federal government decided on Monday to put all the stock of sugar up for sale on the market and to start the sugarcane crushing season from the 15th of this month across the country in order to control the escalation in the price of the sweetener.
A high-level meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, and attended by Federal Ministers Hammad Azhar, Fawad Chaudhry, Khusro Bakhtiar, Syed Fakhar Imam and Dr Farogh Naseem, also decided to initiate strict legal proceedings. against hoarding and profit.
The price of sugar, which was Rs 100 per kilo a month ago, hit an all-time high of Rs 160 per kilo last week following an “artificial shortage” allegedly created by owners and traders of sweets.
Although around the weekend the price of the sweetener showed signs of retreating, falling into the Rs 140-145 range in Karachi and Peshawar on Monday, the rate rose further in Punjab, reaching Rs 170 in some. parts of Rawalpindi.
To control the price, the Islamabad meeting took some important decisions. According to a document, he decided to put all the stock of sugar up for sale on the market and start grinding sugar cane across the country from November 15.
Advisers to Prime Minister Shaukat Tarin and Shehzad Akbar, Special Assistant Shehbaz Gill and the Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) also attended the meeting, while the Chief Secretary of the Punjab and senior officials from Balochistan and from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa joined them via video link.
The meeting was briefed on the stock and price of sugar in the country. The Prime Minister was informed that the country had abundant stocks of sugar, but the increase in the price was due to the decision to close sugar factories in Sindh.
The meeting participants were further informed that Sindh had deviated from the decisions of the Center and other provinces in the case of the wheat crisis as well, causing an emergency situation in the country.
The meeting decided that those involved in hoarding and profiting would be prosecuted strictly under the law. “In no case will profit or hoarding be tolerated,” the prime minister said at the meeting.
He called for strict enforcement of laws under the Sugar Factories (Control) Act 2021, the Punjab Hoarding Prevention Act 2020, and the Punjab Registration Act 2014. godowns of Punjab.
Imran pointed out that Pakistan, as an importing country, was witnessing the impact of rising prices on international markets. However, he added that the government was taking all possible measures to ease the burden on the poor segment.
The prime minister said provincial and district governments should be visible on the ground providing relief to the masses. He added that the government is aware of the impact of inflation and is rising above politics to serve the people.
During this time, the price of sugar began to fall due to the increase in its supply. However, the price continued its upward trajectory in Punjab, where it was sold at Rs 160 per kg in parts of Rawalpindi town and as high as Rs 170 per kg in suburban areas.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the wholesale price of sugar had fallen to Rs 132 per kg while the retail price was between Rs 135 and Rs 140. However, in Punjab, the mills had reduced supply, while some wholesalers had disappeared from the scene, fearing government raids.
Read more: Sugar crisis is a conspiracy, says Shahbaz Gill
However, speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Federal Minister Hamad Azhar said the price of sugar would start to drop this week and return to its normal level in two to three weeks, due to the measures taken. by the government.
Azhar told reporters he was holding the press conference on the instructions of the prime minister, adding that originally Industry Minister Khusro Bakhtiar was assigned to speak at the press conference, but that he had recused himself because his own family worked in the sugar industry.
The minister accused the Sindh government of colluding with the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) in Sindh and of conspiring against the federal government. “The Sindh government did not manage the sweets from October 15 despite clear orders from the federal government,” he said.
“They [Sindh government] can conspire against the federal government but not against the people, ”he added. “This [conspiracy] the war will not be won in a year or a month, ”he warned. “Now there will be free importation, no subsidy will be given and there will be no blackmail of any kind. “
The minister said: “Now the sugar industry will operate only on the basis of demand.” Responding to a question, the minister said provincial and district administrations had arrested some bookmakers, adding: “This operation will bring down the price.
The importance of morality
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran tweeted the importance of morality, especially truth and honesty, in reforming a nation and a society.
He quoted the Roman statesman, Scipio, who said that “no society stands a chance when its walls are standing while its morals are in ruins”.
In the tweet, the prime minister said that the first social state of Islam in Medina under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has grown into a great civilization on the basis of such principles of morality.
“Our beloved Prophet PBUH first raised the moral standards of the state of Medina through his own supreme example. [Sadiq and Ameen] before they became one of the greatest civilizations, ”the tweet read.