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Mills refuse to sell sugar at Rs80 per kg

Top Story

April 4, 2021

LAHORE: The Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) Punjab Zone Saturday refused to provide sugar for Rs80 per kilogram for the open market.

PSMA Punjab leadership including Javed Kayani, Chaudhry Waheed, Ali Saleem and others, told press conference in Lahore that the government should abolish 17 per cent sales tax levied on the sugar sale if it wanted to fix Rs80/kg ex-mill rate of the commodity. They said if the government wanted to fix that rate, it should take the responsibility of paying salaries to the mills staff as well as all other financial liabilities. They said the mills could not afford providing sugar for Rs80/kg, and the government might import it at this rate if it could not increase rate for the local mills’ produce.

The PSMA claimed that the cost of sugar production was Rs87.65 per kilogram after purchasing sugarcane at the government support price of Rs200/40kg. They said the mills procured sugarcane for Rs260-285 per 40 kilogram during the crushing season. After purchasing sugarcane for that price, the average cost of production at ex-mill level ranged between Rs108-109/kg, they claimed.

On the other hand, a Food Department senior official confirmed on Saturday that the notified ex-mill rate was yet to be implemented in the province. “Yes, not a single kg of sugar sold by any mill yet at government’s notified rate,” admitted the official, adding they were resisting the notified price tooth and nail. According to market sources, sugar is still being sold for over Rs100 per kg at most of the retail outlets.

Meanwhile, an additional district and sessions court Saturday granted interim bail to well-known parliamentarian, industrialist and sugar baron Jahangir Khan Tareen and his son Ali Khan Tareen in two cases of alleged fraud and money laundering.

The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Hamid Hussain granted bail to the father-son duo on submission of surety bonds of Rs500,000 each. The court granted bail to the duo till April 10.

Separately, a banking court, led over by Judge Ameer Muhammad Khan, also granted pre-arrest bail to both the accused in another case against them till April 7. The court restrained the authorities from arresting the father-son duo till April 7. The two accused appeared in both courts and secured bails.

As per the FIR against the Tareen family, the FIA stated that during the course of an inquiry, a fraudulent and premeditated scheme of misappropriation of public shareholders' money by Jahangir Khan Tareen had surfaced whereby JDW (a public limited listed company) fraudulently transferred Rs3.14 billion to an associated private company, Farooqi Pulp Mills Ltd Gujrat (FPML), owned by his son and close relatives.

The material disclosure that FMPL was declared “not a going-concern (especially since FY-2011/12) and that its operations had been practically shut down with multiple failed trial-runs, was intentionally withheld/ concealed from public shareholders of JDW which amounted to criminal breach of trust (406 PPC) of the public shareholders’ money over which Jahangir Tareen had fiduciary control as the CEO,” the FIR stated.