LAHORE: Punjab government reiterated its resolve of selling sugar to registered dealers at the set rate of Rs80/kg as per the law and managed to lift 4,000 tons till Friday afternoon despite the reluctance of millers.
Cane Commissioner Punjab Muhammad Zaman Wattoo told The News that no mill would be allowed to create bottlenecks in sugar supply to the market on flimsy grounds.
“There is no such condition of NTN and sales tax registration for dealers,” he said.
The commissioner further said that they managed to lift 4,000 tons of sugar till Friday afternoon despite the reluctance of millers.
He observed that it would be a total injustice if sugar mills did not supply sugar at the officially-fixed price. “Is the retail price of sugar at Rs85/kg less as being termed by the sugar mills owners,” he questioned.
Earlier, Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) wrote a letter to cane commissioner Punjab and conveyed willingness to sell sugar at ex-mill price of Rs80/kg till the end of Ramazan on account of the Lahore High Court verdict given four days ago.
In a letter to provincial government, it stated that in pursuance of Lahore High Court order in writ petition No 22977 of 2021, quota has been allocated to all mills in Punjab according to their production during current crushing season.
The letter said that the order was given due to Ramazan, and requested that only those dealers be deputed to lift sugar from mills who qualified the requirements of Punjab Sugar (Supply-Chain Management) Order,2021 as well as conditions laid down by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the PSMA official said.
All Member Mills and Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PZ) has further requested that highly subsidised sugar being provided to government should reach the deserving segments of society instead of commercial organisations.
It was pointed out that while registering and referring the dealers, particulars should be provided to the mills to complete the record including CNIC, NTN, STN, and bank account along with the CNIC of the dealer/buyer.
PSMA also asked all member mills in Punjab for efficient coordination.
It should be noted that the Punjab Food Department earlier vowed to implement Rs80/kg ex-mill sugar price notified by the provincial government under the provision of law.
Wattoo was of the view that the provincial government had every right to implement the newly set sugar rate through the law.
He observed that it would be a total injustice if sugar mills did not supply sugar at the officially-fixed price.
Throwing light on various factors involving the pricing of sugar, Wattoo said the formula for assessing the production cost of sugar, which determines the ex-mill and market price, was a bit complicated.
“Taking advantage of it and using vague stats, propaganda was being spread that the retail price of sugar at Rs85 per kg is very low and the sugar mills will suffer losses,” he explained. To make it easier to understand the current price of sugar, the Punjab Food Department senior officers shared an analysis about sugar price trend and associated facts about its rates.
In 2018, he explained, the price of sugarcane was Rs180/40 kg. The sugar mill owners claim that they bought sugarcane at this price this year.
In 2018, the market rate of sugar averaged at Rs52/kg. Contrary to this, the average purchase price of sugarcane in Punjab in current year (2020-21) was Rs259/40 kg, according to the sugar mills’ signed reports.
Thus, increase in sugarcane price was 43.89 percent as compared to the price in 2017-18, he concluded.