After the court’s permission, the federal government set the sugar price on Saturday once again, putting its credibility at stake and risking another round of legal battle with the industry.
According to the official notification, which the provinces must implement, sugar will now be sold at a retail price of Rs89.5 per kilo.
According to an earlier announcement dated July 16, the government set the price at Rs88.24 per kilogram, which the sector disputed and threatens to fight again.
In response to the latest notification, several interested parties stated reasons to doubt the entire process. Food department officials think the federal government was soft on the millers when considering the average recovery numbers (sucrose), otherwise, the price should not have exceeded Rs80 per kilo.
Dealers think they will be caught between the devil and the deep blue sea: millers will not sell at the stated price and dealers will be arrested for selling at a higher price or they will go out of business (they claim 60 percent of them have already gone bankrupt). Retailers fear the worst: “We will get sugar at higher prices and we will be fined or arrested for selling it at the purchase price.” Consumers doubt that the government has the will and the means to implement the decision.
An official in Punjab’s food department points out that the province, its research institutes, and mobile laboratories calculated sucrose recovery of 10.41% in the first week of November last year. It had only risen later, as the cane ripened further. All these calculations are part of the record and can be consulted. However, the federal government calculated an average of 9.9%. If this 0.5% increase had been included, the calculation of the official price would not have exceeded Rs80 per kg. The federation does indeed have a tolerant view, thinks the official.
The mills’ resellers (the connection between the mills and the market) are also not optimistic. Seeking anonymity, one of them says: “The millers are united, but the retailers are not. Since the so-called [joint investigation team] was formed and submitted its report, who has been arrested the most in the entire supply chain? The drug dealers! How many plant owners were arrested? ”