Sugar millers earned over Rs500bn due to price rise: PTI

Published September 1, 2023
KARACHI: The wholesale price of sugar has increased to Rs172 per kg, according to traders, taking the retail rate to Rs185 per kg. — Dawn/file
KARACHI: The wholesale price of sugar has increased to Rs172 per kg, according to traders, taking the retail rate to Rs185 per kg. — Dawn/file

ISLAMABAD: The PTI has alleged that sugar mill owners have earned over Rs500 billion during the last four months due to the rise in the commodity’s price.

Muzzammil Aslam, PTI spokesperson on economy and finance, said on Thursday the price of sugar has doubled during the last three to four months, further compounding the miseries of the inflation-ridden and poverty-stricken masses.

In a video shared on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, Mr Aslam claimed the commodity was available at Rs 80 to 85 per kg 16 months ago when the PTI government was ousted in April 2022. Now, it is being sold at Rs150 to Rs170 per kg — an increase of almost Rs85.

Breaking down the impact of this price hike, he claimed the annual consumption of sugar in Pakistan is six million tonnes.

If the price went up by Rs85 per kg, sugar mill owners earned Rs85,000 per tonne, he said, adding that in total, sugar barons would have earned Rs510bn only due to the hike in price in the past three to four months.

He said that if the current price of sugar remained unchanged till November, the sugar mill owners would earn an extra Rs127bn in profit. If in the past six months, the average price hike was Rs80, it would add up to Rs255 to Rs260bn in profit.

The profit was more than a quarter of the entire country’s annual development expenditure, Mr Aslam claimed.

If the government levied a tax on the profit of sugar mills, it would have the fiscal space to give a major relief in power bills to the masses.

Continuing with his criticism of the PDM government, Mr Aslam added the previous government imposed a ban on the import of soybeans —the main nutrition source in poultry feed.

This action pushed up the chicken price to Rs600 per kg from Rs250 to Rs300.

He stated that the people associated with the soybean business also earned billions due to the ban.

It is worth mentioning that the PTI, after getting power in 2018, decided to export sugar due to which prices were almost doubled.At that time, opposition parties had criticised the decision. However, after coming into power, the PML-N-led federal government also decided to export the sugar thus skyrocketing the price.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2023

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