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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is said to have taken serious note of the absence of requisite data on sugar in a recent presentation given to him and directed Ministry of National Food Security and Research Division to provide complete data on sugar in a week’s time, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

Sharing the details, sources said, Prime Minister, in a meeting on April 26, 2026, expressed his disappointment at FBR performance and the defective implementation of Track and Trace system which was introduced in 2019 to prevent tax evasion in the tobacco, sugar and fertilizer industries.

Prime Minister observed that it was a clear case of collusion, criminal negligence and fraud. It was observed that the system should have generated billions of rupees in revenue for the country, but failed due to poor implementation and mismanagement.

PSGA, PSMA appeal PM to allow export of surplus sugar

The Chair said that the country not only lost billions of rupees in potential revenues, but also lost crucial years that could have been utilised for the betterment of the country. FBR should have procured and installed appropriate equipment, but its installation was left to the industry, giving them vast space for manipulation.

He said that due to lack of oversight and absence of any penalty clause in the agreement, heavy losses were inflicted on the national economy. This criminal negligence, he said, would not go unchecked and those responsible shall have to face the consequences.

The Cabinet constituted a committee chaired by the Minister for Finance, to determine and apportion responsibility for the FBR’s serious dereliction in the installation of the Track and Trace system and consequent loss of revenue.

The Prime Minister briefed the Cabinet regarding sectoral review presentations on wheat and sugar. The Cabinet was informed that this year there was a bumper wheat crop. National Food Security and Research Division was directed to look into the reasons for import of wheat during the caretaker government administration and to take immediate measures to manage the situation, including support for farmers, where warranted, and to minimise losses.

The Prime Minister tasked the National Food Security and Research Division to consider export of sugar, after due diligence, only if the domestic needs were assured to be met without any impact on prices. He emphasised that the country could not afford commodity smuggling out of the country so that export revenue is not lost to smuggling. He further directed initiation of anti-hoarding measures by provincial governments.

The Prime Minister enquired about the result of the performance audit of airport services by an international consultant, which he had directed to be carried out expeditiously.

The Cabinet directed the Aviation Division to carry out the performance audit without any further delay. It was observed that in case any exemption was required, the matter could be placed before the SIFC.

The Aviation Division updated the Cabinet on the measures taken for improving the facilities at Pakistan’s airports, and stated that hiring of international consultant is in progress under PPRA Rules. The Chair expressed displeasure over the slow progress.

Regarding outsourcing, the Cabinet was informed that the interested parties were being facilitated and due diligence committees had been formed. It was further stated that service counters at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi airports had been increased and other measures to facilitate the passengers were also in progress.

One of the Cabinet members suggested that small airports should be used for lifting cargo to export local agricultural produce, in response to which the Aviation Division stated that cargo planes could not land or take off from small airports. It was further observed that cargo flights could be started from Multan and Rahim Yar Khan airports, which were large enough. The Chair directed the National Food Security and Research Division to bring the case for consideration in the Cabinet.

The Cabinet also directed Aviation Division to carry out a performance audit of airport services by international consultants expeditiously and to update the Cabinet. It has also been directed to present the draft “Drone Policy” to the Cabinet within the month of May.

The Cabinet has also directed all Ministries to submit their cases to the ‘Cabinet Committee on SOEs’ for declaration of any SOE as ’strategic ’, which would then be placed before the Cabinet for approval.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

Comments

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KU May 10, 2024 09:26am
PM shouldn't be too hard on the baboos of these ministries, they must be busy working on another heist on farmers n common people. What has the PM done to catch the criminals behind wheat scandal?
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IMTIAZ CASSUM AGBOATWALA May 10, 2024 11:49am
Why should the PM be involved in such nitty gritties . Shouldn't the line Managers be doing their jobs diligently ?
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Builder May 10, 2024 12:04pm
The world is innovating and progressing while we are busy counting wheat, sugar and rice bags stolen by the mafias.
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