Sunday, November 07, 2021

Punjab sees steep decline in sugar prices after crackdown on hoarders

Ex-mill price of sugar nosedives to Rs120-125/kg from Friday’s Rs140 in province, say dealers

In this file photo, a Pakistani laborer carries a bag of sugar through a market in Karachi. Photo: AFP
In this file photo, a Pakistani laborer carries a bag of sugar through a market in Karachi. Photo: AFP
  • Punjab crackdown on hoarders cuts sugar prices.
  • Dealer confirms trading in wholesale market adversely affected due to raids by administrations.
  • Punjab CM Usman Buzdar warns sugar hoarders of strict action.

LAHORE: Following a strict province-wide crackdown on sugar hoarders, the commodity’s price has started easing in Punjab, The News learnt Saturday.

The unprecedented jump in the price of sugar abruptly saw a turnaround with a sharp decline on Saturday as the ex-mill price nosedived to Rs120-125/kg from Friday’s Rs140.

Expressing his concerns over the crackdown and arrests, a dealer said, “The dealers are being detained without following any legal process in addition to some arrests of traders under dubious sections of Maintenance of the Public Order (MPO) Ordinance, 1960.”

He confirmed that trading in the wholesale market had been adversely affected due to raids by the administrations. “Dealers are unable to lift sugar from the factories in such a hostile environment,” he observed.

He asked the government to allow the sugar chain supply to work to ensure the smooth flow of the commodity.

Steep drop in ex-mill sugar price

A senior official of the Punjab Food Department, however, claimed there was a steep drop in the ex-mill sugar price in the province following administrative measures taken by the government.

He maintained that the ex-mill sugar price was now hovering around Rs115/kg compared to Friday’s Rs140-145/kg. He hinted the price of sugar would decrease further in the coming days.

Nonetheless, sugar is not available in many retail outlets. If the commodity is on sale, its price still ranges between Rs135-150/kg for end consumers.

In a related development, a first high profile contact was established between the government and the sugar industry in months, as Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal met with a four-member delegation of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA), led by Secretary-General Hassan Iqbal at his office in the Civil Secretariat on Saturday.

The millers apprised the chief secretary of the problems facing the sugar industry.

CM Buzdar vows to ensure sale of sugar at govt rate 

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has said that all possible administrative measures will be taken to ensure the sale of sugar at a fixed price.

Despite the Punjab government taking strict action against sugar hoarders, the commodity prices are sky rocketing, The News reported.

Chairing a meeting at his office on Saturday, he said indiscriminate action against hoarders and profiteers will continue and no one will be allowed to exploit the interest of the common man.

During the meeting, the CM was briefed about sugar stocks and demand in the province. It was decided to take all necessary steps to stabilise sugar prices. Buzdar asserted that no one will be allowed to hoard sugar and said an artificial increase in sugar prices will not be tolerated.

People cannot be left alone at the mercy of profiteers, he added. The government will take every decision in the best interest of the country and to safeguard the rights of the common man, he said.

He said the administration should ensure availability of sugar at small shops to stabilise the market.

The sugar situation should be reviewed on a daily basis. Buzdar gave directions to take all necessary steps for the immediate start of the crushing season. He gave instructions to Industries Minister Aslam Iqbal for this.

The CM was informed that there was ample stock of sugar in the province, including in Lahore. Sugar is available at Rs90 per kg in 200 mega stores and 1,200 small shops in Lahore, the publication reported.