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February 15, 2020

Punjab govt, sugar millers meeting remains inconclusive

National

February 15, 2020

LAHORE: The meeting to fix the sugar price between the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (Punjab) and Punjab government remained inconclusive as the millers were not ready to fix price only with sugarcane price while the government stuck to it.

After Thursday’s successful meeting between the sugar dealers and Punjab government, a meeting was planned between the millers and government which ended without any outcome and further deliberations and follow-up meetings would be held to settle the issue, an official who attended the meeting disclosed this.

Both PSMA and Punjab government officials were not ready to give official version about the meeting that remained inconclusive.

PSMA Punjab Chairman Numan Khan attended the meeting while Punjab Food Secretary Waqal Ali Mehmood negotiated with the millers. The official, who attended the meeting disclosed that a detailed discussion between the government and PSMA officials was made which remained inconclusive. The PSMA agreed to disclose their stocks; the official said, adding that they were already updating their stocks position with the government regularly.

Thus, this offer of declaring the stocks was technically not new. Further, the millers also admitted that the surplus stocks of sugar were available. The government official questioned the millers that despite having surplus stocks how the prices were increased. The millers were told that the government will not allow any manipulation on the sugar prices. However, the millers did not agree with bringing down the rates of sugar, claiming that their cost of production was high while the government’s fixed price was lower than their cost of production.

The government official conveyed the millers that variables used by them for the calculation of the cost of production was not acceptable and the government will calculate the sugar price in accordance with the sugarcane price. Further, it was also informed that the government will keep watching the sugarcane farmers and sugar consumers’ interest. The sugar industry concern over the cost of production will be resolved. They are asking to fix the price in between Rs70 to 80 per kg while the government does not agree to it. However, both the parties committed resolving the issue as early as possible in coming days, the official said.

Meanwhile, as a result of government action to establish its writ, the price of sugar sharply came down by Rs550 per 100 kg bag at wholesale level. On Friday, Baber Centre – the place where the sugar wholesalers’ shops and offices are located - resumed the business after three days continuous closure. The centre was closed since the government started crackdown on the sugar stockists across the province and arrested number of hoarders. However, these arrested hoarders were released after the successful meeting between the government and dealers.

After resumption of the trading Friday, sugar wholesale price came down to Rs7400 to 7500 per bag which was previously traded at Rs 7950 per bag. The dealers said further reduction in the price is expected in the coming days as an outcome of the sugar millers and Punjab government negotiations. Despite reduction in the wholesale sugar rates and resumption of wholesale trading, sugar was sold at Rs79 to 80 per kg at retail level in Lahore.