PM Imran forms 3-member committee to probe sugar crisis

21 Feb, 2020

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Earlier, the prime minister had approved a summary to ban sugar exports. — Photo courtesy Imran Khan Instagram/File
Earlier, the prime minister had approved a summary to ban sugar exports. — Photo courtesy Imran Khan Instagram/File

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday constituted a three-member committee to probe the recent countrywide hike in sugar prices.

According to a document issued by the Prime Minister's Office, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the committee will comprise the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general, a representative of the Intelligence Bureau not below grade 20/21, and the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment director general.

Read more: Sugar, wheat crises due to govt's negligence, acknowledges PM Imran

Some of the key points the committee will investigate include:

  • Whether the [sugar] production this year was low as compared to last year. Was low production the primary reason for the increase in price?;
  • Did the mills purchase sugarcane at exorbitantly higher prices than the minimum support price? If yes, then reasons thereof;
  • Reasons for mills not purchasing sugarcane, for a limited period of a few weeks, from the farmers and its impact, if any, on sugar prices;
  • Market manipulation/cartelisation by sugar mills, if any;
  • Impact of forward contracts on the prices of sugar and whether any malafide is involved;
  • Hoarding at the wholesale or retail level and within sugar mills vis-à-vis stocks of last year;
  • Was the sugar export justified? Any subsidy given on export and its impact with potential beneficiaries;
  • Role of various stakeholders including government institutions and private sector in increase in sugar prices.

"The committee will also identify and fix responsibility, if any, on any individual/officer/organisation, including any purported benefit to a private party, besides suggesting a way forward for future course of action," the statement read.

On February 7, the premier had approved a summary to ban the export of sugar and to allow the import of 300,000 tonnes sugar through the private sector in a bid to stabilise domestic prices.

Subsequently, on February 10, the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet greenlighted the prime minister's decision to ban sugar exports but decided against importing sugar.