Sugar mills unlikely to sell on rate fixed by govt | Pakistan Today

Sugar mills unlikely to sell on rate fixed by govt

ECC attempts to control sugar prices:
Despite plentiful stock of sugar in the country, its price remains high due to negligence of the government and blackmailing tactics of sugar mill owners. After much delay the government has decided to procure sugar from local mills through Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP). The mills however, are not ready to sell sugar at a rate of Rs60 per kilogram. According to sources this rate would have been acceptable to sugar mills if the government had contacted them earlier. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has asked the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to control the increasing price of sugar in the country. EEC is likely to review the price it has offered to the local millers through TCP. Sources claimed that the government may increase price for procurement of sugar by Rs1 or Rs2. The decision is expected to be made before July 9, the last day for submitting tenders to TCP. Officials at TCP claim that almost 14 tenders have so far been sold out.
Consumers face the brunt: On the other hand, people at the helm of affairs in Pakistan Sugar Mills Association have claimed that mills would not even sell sugar at Rs65 per kilogram now as they were demanding the government to procure the required stock in April 2011. Sources in TCP said that procurement of sugar was being done without any concerns for market stabilisation. ECC has granted approval for procurement of 50,000 tonnes of sugar from local mills at Rs60 per kilogram so that they can pay their dues to growers. Though the mills seem reluctant to sell sugar on a higher rate than the price fixed by the government, the ECC and TCP were expecting to procure the commodity at a lower price. According to sources the market price of sugar has surged to around Rs75 per kilogram and is expected to rise to Rs80 per kilogram during Ramazan.
Mill owners attempt market manipulation: “The decision has come too late, the international price is Rs80 per kilogram and sugar in the country is being smuggled to Afghanistan and Iran at a large scale,” a sugar mill owner who did not want to be named, said. The government was responsible for the hike in sugar price, he said. He added that the government should have listened to the plea of sugar mill owners and stocked up earlier. He lamented that the concerned authorities had deliberately left the people to suffer at the hands of hoarders and profit seekers.
The current stock of 300,000 tonnes of sugar at TCP would only meet the consumption of one month if it was poured in the market. “The market price could have been stabilised, if the government had required a stock of 500,000 tonnes,” sources said. Sources claimed that there was still no shortage of sugar in the country and the only thing needed was to establish the writ of the government in the commodity market as there was no price controlling mechanism.



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