KARACHI: The retail price of sugar has reached Rs100 per kg from last week’s Rs93-95kg rate amid blame game among stakeholders over the skyrocketing price and apparent lack of government interest in controlling the price.

The increase in sugar price is alarming ahead of Muharram when its demand further surges as the sweetener is heavily used in making various dishes of nazar and niaz during Muharram, which is due to begin next week.

Persistent warnings from Prime Minister Imran Khan for dealing with ‘sugar barons’ with an iron hand coupled with the government’s decision in the last week of July to import 300,000 tonnes of sugar have failed to make any impact on the rates as sugar mills continue to ignore the government warnings and are making frequent price hikes.

Retailers said they could not sell sugar at low rates because of rising wholesale prices while wholesalers attributed soaring prices to increase in rate by sugar millers.

While market players point the finger at each other, consumers find no respite and are compelled to pay the high price.

However, many consumers facing a cash crunch are seen buying less quantities of sugar as per their requirement.

Patron-in-chief of the Karachi Wholesalers Grocers Association (KWGA) Anis Majeed blamed the millers for taking the rate to Rs92-93 from Rs90-91 per kg last week. Earlier this month, the wholesale rate was around Rs78 per kg.

In January sugar was available at Rs76 per kg in retail market while its wholesale rate was Rs68-70 per kg.

Mr Majeed said sugar demand would rise by 50 per cent in Muharram due to its extra usage in preparing sweet dishes.

He said the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) on August 7 floated an international tender for import of 300,000 tonnes of sugar, seeking bids from international suppliers and manufacturers.

“I think imported sugar will take at least a month to reach Pakistan after the date of issuance of tender and completion of various legal formalities,” he said hinting that high prices are likely to continue.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2020

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