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ISLAMABAD: The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has initiated legal action against six sugar mills for not releasing sugar stocks of the corporation procured a few years ago.

The TCP, however, did not disclose the names of powerful sugar mills owners and the quantity of sugar withheld by them.

Speaking at a press conference, TCP chairman Rizwan Ahmed observed that the corporation had a stock of 32,000 metric tonnes of sugar, and it had released 93,000 metric tonnes of sugar to the utility stores for selling at subsidised rates.

The TCP chief said that in 2013-14 the TCP procured 411,855 metric tonnes of sugar through open tenders from local sugar mills for supplying to the utility stores for its further sale to the public at affordable price. The price difference was paid by the federal government, the TCP chairman said.

The federal government releases over Rs160 billion to the TCP annually for purchase of commodities on the directives of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastagir Khan said that TCP has saved Rs7.109bn from its different operations during financial year 2013-14.

Most of the saving was made from overdue recoveries from state-owned entities. An amount of Rs3.541bn was outstanding against Utility Stores Corporation since 2008-09 on account of supply of wheat.

At the same time, an amount of Rs150.606 million was received from National Fertiliser Mar-keting Ltd (NFML) which was outstanding since long on account of excess quantity of urea, transportation and unloading charges.

The minister said an amount of Rs2.6bn was saved on better negotiations with different banks on mark-ups.

He said that TCP imported 1,153,891.423 metric tonnes of urea during the year 2013-14. Currently, the TCP was also importing 350,000 metric tonnes of urea through a Saudi grant.

Mr Khan said that the government imported 50pc of urea through Gwadar port in spite of high incidental costs to keep the port functional.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2014