Punjab sees steep decline in sugar prices after crackdown on hoarders


LAHORE: Following a strict province-wide crackdown on sugar hoarders, the commodity’s price has started easing in Punjab, The News learnt Saturday.

The unprecedented jump in the price of sugar abruptly saw a turnaround with a sharp decline on Saturday as the ex-mill price nosedived to Rs120-125/kg from Friday’s Rs140.

Expressing his concerns over the crackdown and arrests, a dealer said, “The dealers are being detained without following any legal process in addition to some arrests of traders under dubious sections of Maintenance of the Public Order (MPO) Ordinance, 1960.”

He confirmed that trading in the wholesale market had been adversely affected due to raids by the administrations. “Dealers are unable to lift sugar from the factories in such a hostile environment,” he observed.

He asked the government to allow the sugar chain supply to work to ensure the smooth flow of the commodity.

A senior official of the Punjab Food Department, however, claimed there was a steep drop in the ex-mill sugar price in the province following administrative measures taken by the government.

He maintained that the ex-mill sugar price was now hovering around Rs115/kg compared to Friday’s Rs140-145/kg. He hinted the price of sugar would decrease further in the coming days.

Nonetheless, sugar is not available in many retail outlets. If the commodity is on sale, its price still ranges between Rs135-150/kg for end consumers.

In a related development, a first high profile contact was established between the government and the sugar industry in months, as Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal met with a four-member delegation of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA), led by Secretary-General Hassan Iqbal at his office in the Civil Secretariat on Saturday.