Sugar, wheat crisis
PM Imran vows action against profiteers after forensic report
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: Referencing recent reports by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) regarding the sugar and wheat crises in the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that he was waiting for the detailed forensic report — which will come out on April 25 — before taking action.
"After these reports come out, no powerful lobby will be able to profiteer at the expense of our public," he said via a tweet.
On Saturday, two reports on the recent sugar and wheat crises in the country were made public, exposing ruling PTI's bigwig Jahangir Tareen and allied parties’ leaders Federal Minister for Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar, Monis Elahi of PML-Q and their relatives as being involved in the scam.
The reports were made public on the directives of the premier who, according to Special Assistant on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar, had ordered stern action against those found involved in the crises "irrespective of their status and party affiliation".
Taking to Twitter Sunday, the Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he had finally fulfilled the promise made to the people.
"As promised, preliminary reports into [the] sudden price hikes of sugar and wheat have been released without alteration/tampering. This is unprecedented in Pakistan's history," he said.
He added that previous political leaderships lacked the courage to release such information due to their "vested interests and compromises".
Inquiry committee reports export of sugar was unjustified
The inquiry committee constituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan to probe into increase in sugar price found out that the export of sugar was not justified and the exporters gained benefit in two ways by gaining subsidy and then fetching huge profit from the increasing sugar prices in the local market.
The sugar price was increased from Rs 55 per kg in December 2018 to Rs 71.44 per kg in June 2019 despite the fact that General Sales Tax (GST) increase was implemented from July 01, 2019.
The report added that with the export of sugar in January 2019, the price of sugar started increasing immediately in the local market.
The report also revealed that in past few years the production of sugar was historically more than the local requirements, therefore it was imperative to probe and include this aspect related to export of sugar including any subsidy given, its impact on local sugar prices and eventually major beneficiaries of such export subsidies.
The production of sugar in 2016-17 and 2017-18 was more than the estimated domestic consumption of the country, hence the sugar was exported from Pakistan.
The estimated domestic consumption of Pakistan is around 5.2 million metric tons per year. In the year 2016-17, Pakistan had a record 7.08 MMT production of sugar while the production was 6.63 MMT in 2017-2018.
On request of the committee the federal government has set up the commission to probe into the sugar crisis and to conduct forensic audit of the sugar mills.