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LAHORE: The Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) Punjab on Friday showed its concern on the recent statement of the Cane Commissioner Punjab, published in the newspapers.

The PSMA said that there has been no consultation with Cane Commissioner Punjab regarding prices of sugar. “Only one meeting was held under the Chairmanship of the Punjab Chief Secretary, wherein provision of 20,000 tonnes of sugar on reduced rate was discussed. This sugar was to be provided for the low strata of the society,” it added.

According to it, this is an old tradition and PSMA provides sugar by giving concession of Rs8 per kg on the current market price. Nothing could be finalized in that meeting also and subsequently no meeting was held. Cost of sugar at Rs67 per kg as stated by Cane Commissioner is totally baseless. We have been reminding the government in the past, time and again that prices of sugarcane were rising, but the government did not pay any attention; 80 percent of the cost of sugar is of the sugarcane cost. Now that the cost of sugar has been tremendously increased, the government is forcing mills to sell sugar at low price of Rs80 per kg.

“The way government is dealing with the crisis, it will have highly negative impact on the industry. Under the present arrangement and court order, sugar mills have to provide 155,000 tonnes of sugar at rate of Rs80, which is for the lower strata of the society. But the stores other than that are also not allowed to sell sugar at the routine market rate. These shop keepers are arrested, sugar confiscated and they are fined heavily. Due to these factors sugar has disappeared from the market. When sugar is not there in the market, how will it be available to the people? Dealers and people associated with this business are scared and are not inclined to continue the business,” it added.

It asked the government to allow maximum dealers to lift sugar from the mills and distribute to all the stores, shops and outlets at routine market rates, so that sugar is available in abundance in the market. “Without such arrangement, the crisis will get more and more severe. The government should take stock of this situation, put the corrective measures and ensure the availability of sugar at reasonable rates and in adequate quantity,” it added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021