Monday November 29, 2021

Sugar reaches Rs100 per kg mark in retail markets after a decade

August 13, 2020

LAHORE: Sugar price reached Rs100 per kg mark in retail markets Wednesday registering an increase of Rs10 per kg within two weeks. The price of sugar reached this level after one decade as it was the highest level in 2010 when it crossed Rs100 mark and sold at Rs110 to 115 per kg in November 2010.

After this increase of Rs10 per kg sugar price, total increase of sugar price at retail rates accumulated to Rs25/kg within a span of two months. Now it is expected to increase further in coming days while the dealers and sugar millers forecasting it at Rs125 to 130 per kg in the coming weeks.

Despite increase in the wholesale price of sugar, negligible trading was recorded at wholesale market as the dealers claimed that sugar mills were not selling the sugar. The price of wholesale sugar rates also increased to Rs94 per kg which was at Rs90 per kg on July 30.

On the other hand, sugar was not sold at retail markets except the chain stores which are free to charge any price from the consumers on grains and other items. The small ‘karyana’ shops and other stores were not selling sugar in Lahore on the pretext of raids by the price magistrates and avoiding fines.

The shopkeepers in different areas of Lahore said the wholesale price of sugar was much higher than the official consumer price fixed by the government, so it is better to stop selling sugar to avoid fine from the price magistrates.

If somewhere sugar was available, seller was selling half to one kilogramme only to each consumer at Rs100 per kg. ‘Karyana’ shops owners said the government was not fixing market based price of retail sugar price which created shortage at retail levels. Previously, the government fixed the retail price of sugar at Rs70 per kg while it was sold at Rs75 to 80 per kg even at that time. Now the difference of government fixed and consumer price is widened to 30 percent so the karyana and small shops are not selling sugar anymore.

However, the chain stores which are influential and have good relations in the power corridors, especially in provincial cabinet and some of the ‘effective ministers’ are freely selling not only sugar higher than the official rates but also all other pulses and grains on their own rates.

They claimed that the variety of pulses, grains are of special quality alongside in customised packaging so the government allowed them to overcharge on it. Further, they also sell sugar in customised packaging and also overcharge on it as well. However, the small shops and karayna merchants sell sugar, pulses and other grains in loose packaging so the government’s official rates applied on them only.

It is pertinent to mention that this correspondent in February predicted sugar shortage in the country and anticipated increase in the prices which could have been controlled with quick policy decisions and effective implementation and enforcement through administrative measures by the government. However, both federal and provincial governments waited for increase in sugar prices which now touched Rs100 per kg mark.