Sugar in Crises, Govt Releases Inquiry Report

Islamabad (Our Correspondent): Federal government released report of the Sugar Inquiry Commission which blamed the sugar industry had acted like a cartel.

A market analyst said the sugar industry has already been portrayed as a villain in the society. After this report, some arrests are expected which will negative impact on this sector, he added.

Prime Minister’s aide on Accountability, Shahzad Akbar said the sugar mill owners were acting as “cartels”. Six major groups hold 51 per cent of the production supply.

As per the findings of the report, companies owned and controlled by Jahangir Khan Tareen (JDW) exported 17.24% of its total production and availed 22.71% of the total export subsidy amounting to Rs 561 million.

The companies owned and controlled by Makhdum Omer Sheryar (RYK Group) had exported 31.17% of its total production and availed 18.31% of the total export subsidy to Rs 452 million.

“The commission traced irregularities in the form of giving advance payments to farmers in the form of cash or commodity, which is akin to unregulated banking,” he added.

The committee also found that the Punjab government was providing the subsidy for export of sugar at a time when the price of the commodity was increasing in the domestic market.

On the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Wajid Zia was conducting a forensic investigation of the recent sugar crisis that hit the country earlier this year.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad Shahzad Akbar said the report will be published online. He said that sugar mills owners pay amount to sugarcane growers even less than the support price and also make cuts in the weight of sugarcane from 15 to 30 per cent.

He added that the mill under-reported sugar sales “for years” and sold the commodity to unnamed buyers which was violations of the Pakistan Penal Code, he said.

After this report, Sugar industry is in deep trouble. Many sugar companies listed on the stock market have already announced holding board meetings. Market fears any action against the sugar industry may affect sugar production.

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