Wednesday October 04, 2023

Call to form commission on sugar crisis

By Our Correspondent
September 08, 2023

LAHORE:A high-level commission should be formed to investigate current sugar crisis in Pakistan and all the facts should be brought to the general public regarding the permission to export sugar during the tenure of former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

In November 2022, the former Prime Minister in Peshawar announced of not allowing sugar export, then why did the Economic Coordination Committee approve it a few months later? These views were expressed by the discussants in Jang Economic Session on ‘Who is responsible for Sugar Crisis’? The panelists were Fahim-ur-Rehman Saigol, Khalid Paracha, Khalid Mansoor Afridi, Abad-ur-Rehman, Afnan Sadiq and Azeem Bari while moderated by Sikindar Lodhi.

Fahim-ur-Rehman Saigol said that despite heavy rains and floods, wheat production has been good and cotton production is higher than expected. The sugar is hoarded and collectively nation indulged in Satta gambling and want to make easy money. The smuggling is destroying the country's economy, so it is very important to take effective measures to discourage smuggling.

Khalid Paracha said it is basically a moral crisis. In every era, we want to make money even if it is from someone's pocket. The sugar crisis comes twice every year and it is all because of hoarders and sugar mafia. It has now become impossible for a poor man to buy sugar and flour in Rs100. Islam has become limited to books only. Rulers should think about the common man while keeping the national interests in front.

Khalid Mansoor Afridi said that there are two reasons of all the problems of the country, one is the failure of the administration and the other is the government. The prices are increasing despite the ample stock available, the reason is smuggling. Pakistan is also feeding Afghanistan. Afghanistan has no agricultural economy. Everything is smuggled from here to Afghanistan. Afghanistan must stand on its own feet, without it, smuggling will continue. India and Thailand, two largest producers banned sugar exports after decline in production. Pakistan policy makers should review the sugar import policy alongside nabbing sugar hoarders.

Abad-ur-Rehman said that the sugar price should not be more than Rs90 per kg against Rs300kg sugarcane price but it is being sold above Rs200/kg. In the year when production increases slightly, sugar millers make a noise about exports, and stock up in the name of exports. There is no shortage of sugar in Pakistan. The sugar system is owned by four to five families and politicians and they together fix the price, and then when prices rise globally, smuggling increases.

Afnan Sadiq said that sugar mafia is a part of every party and we have to fight with them. Sugar worth millions of rupees is smuggled through Chaman border, dollars, sugar, wheat and other goods are being smuggled through Afghanistan. Open investigation and trial of it should be done. There is no shortage of sugar in our country, it is only because of sugar mafia and hoarders that the price is increasing and we have to stop it. Azeem Bari said that Pakistan has fallen into a hole and facing all kinds of crisis of petrol, flour and sugar. People should protest against it. There is no more nuclear war. There will be a war on economic issues. The people can live without sugar and boycott sugar consumption and limited buying will discourage hoarders.