Wednesday December 08, 2021

No pact between sugar dealers, Punjab govt to lift imported sugar

November 21, 2020

LAHORE: No written agreement was made between sugar dealers and the Punjab government for lifting of imported sugar despite clear instructions of the Punjab cabinet to sign an agreement with the Sugar Dealers Association for lifting imported sugar and selling it in the market.

The Trading Corporation of Pakistan is handing over the imported sugar to the Punjab Food Department while the Food Department has made arrangements with the sugar dealers to lift it from the Karachi port and supply it to the Punjab market. On the other hand, for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the TCP has been getting advance payment from the sugar dealers after getting verification of payment allowing the sugar dealers to lift sugar.

A TCP official talking to The News said no agreement between the sugar dealers of Punjab and the corporation was made; rather the Punjab government is lifting it and has made its own arrangements with the sugar dealers. He said they will get payment from the Punjab Food Department not from the sugar dealers. However, for KP, the sugar dealers are lifting imported sugar from the TCP by making advance payments, he added.

Contrary to this, a spokesperson of the Punjab Food Department responding to queries said an MOU was signed between the dealers association and the TCP and all imported sugar was transported to Punjab through dealers and without any port demurrages. Further, the sugar import process is continuing in accordance with the cabinet decision and its guidelines.

On the other hand, Secretary Industry Wasif Khurshid talking to The News said no MoU was signed, but it will be signed. He said the industry department is not handling the imported sugar. According to the draft agreement a copy of which is available with The News, the MoU was supposed to be signed between the Industry, Commerce, Investment and Skill Development Department of Punjab and the Punjab Sugar Dealers Association.

When contacted Rana Ayub, chairman PSDA, said he is unaware of signing of the MOU. He said since the association is lifting imported sugar and making payments to the Punjab Food Department account, there is no issue in it. To a question that the TCP is not getting payment of sugar supplied to Punjab, he said the PSDA has nothing to do with the TCP and not answerable to it. The sugar dealers gave all records of payments made to the Punjab Food Department.

It is important to mention here that the PSDA avoided a written agreement with the government to avoid any action against it if some issues occur. The Spokesperson of the Food Department said that sugar was lifted through PSDA on minimum margins to ensure maximum relief to people in Punjab. He said KP has its own mechanism of advance payment against the imported sugar and Punjab evolved its own mechanism. Punjab is giving imported sugar at lowest margin to reduce burden on consumers.