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It was in August this year that Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) imposed the largest amount of penalty of nearly Rs 44 billion (approximately above US$265 million) on 55 sugar mills and the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) for allegedly committing cartelisation, carrying out anti-competitive activities, collectively deciding the quantum of exports, etc.

A couple of days ago, cases were registered against three sugar mills' owners by the Punjab government for "not making payments" to growers within 15 days as per law. Meanwhile, the sugar mills' owners have taken the plea that they are woefully short of working capital. In my view, it's a very complex issue to which there's no straightforward answer. The Punjab government, unfortunately, seems to be dealing with sugar millers in a way that is clearly excessive and extreme.

Imdad Ali (Karachi)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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