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LAHORE: Expressing reservations over the role of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA), Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill said that the PSMA did not perform their actual role but wasted their energy to manipulate the market for their own interest.

"PSMA set up zonal committees in Punjab for determining the price, stock in the market and make their own decisions in this regard. Competitive Commission of Pakistan (CCP) had imposed a fine of Rs44 billion on 81 sugar mills for embezzlement, corruption and exploitation of the farmers," he said.

Talking to media, here at Press Information Department (PID), Dr Shahbaz Gill said that the highest fine of Rs300 million had been imposed on the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) for its persistent anti-competitive practice. Two of the four members of the CCP are facing investigations and the CCP remained silent about the corruption of sugar mafia because it was occupied by politicians, adding: "The sugar mills owners blackmailed the government and got subsidies but Prime Minister Imran Khan was the only ruler who could not be blackmailed."

He said that for the last several years a subsidy of Rs30 billion was being given to sugar mills, but Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government had stopped this subsidy and provided relief to the people and farmers.

He said that PSMA stopped crushing of 15 sugar mills illegally in the Punjab zone from December 30,2019 to January 11, 2020, during the period, farmers suffered from severe losses and stood in lines outside the mills for several days caused reduction in weight of sugarcane.

He said that the PSMA sold 20,000 metric ton of sugar to utility stores in 2019 and made a lot of money, adding that he was eyewitness in Punjab that the owners of sugar mills blackmailed the government and took subsidies from it.

Shahbaz Gill said that players in the sugar business were present in every sector like politics, businesses, bureaucracy and other powerful sectors of the country therefore they influenced the accountability process.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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