After flour brace up for sugar crisis

Khalid Iqbal
Sunday, Apr 09, 2023

Islamabad: After flour, now, the sugar mafia is flexing its muscles to loot the public with both hands because prices of the commodity rise with each passing day but the sitting government as per routine has fallen into a deep slumber. The price of sugar has increased by Rs30 per kilogram in six days and it was being sold at Rs125 to Rs130 against Rs95 to Rs100 in open market shops on Saturday.

The sitting government has completely failed to address public grievances because people are facing one crisis after the other and a famine-like situation seems to have prevailed in the country. The government-run Utility Store Corporation (USC) is selling one-kilogram sugar at Rs89 but the commodity is not available in stores.

Well-placed sources told ‘The News’ that government has badly failed to control sugar smuggling because the commodity was going to Afghanistan. The profiteers and hoarders were continuously smuggling sugar to Afghanistan and earning more and more profit. Sugar was being smuggled to Afghanistan via Torkham, the sources said. Some four to six days back, one-kilogram sugar was available at Rs100 in the open market. The government-run stores were without sugar for over a week.

The Sugar Wholesale Dealers Association has warned the public about a further increase in sugar prices in the coming days. If the government does not stop smuggling, the public will face the worst shortage of sugar in the coming days and sellers will sell the commodity in ‘black’, the dealers warned. The dealers also disclosed that tycoons were smuggling the commodity to Afghanistan and earning huge amounts of profit.

Sugar, consumed in everything from chocolate to fizzy drinks and baked products, is becoming ever more expensive, raising costs for the industry and keeping up the pressure on global food inflation. Special Price Magistrate Syed Asad Abbas Sherazi said that they have started a crackdown against profiteers and hoarders. We have received several complaints from the public that profiteers and hoarders were selling sugar at skyrocketing prices for some days. We will never spare profiteers and hoarders at any cost, he warned. The jump in sugar prices has already worsened the impact of inflation in the country with shoppers paying more for baked goods, sweets, and fizzy drinks.

Talking to ‘The News’, people belonging to different walks of life condemned the sitting government’s policies. The public was already purchasing flour at skyrocketing prices because the government badly flopped to stop ‘atta’ smuggling and now we were buying sugar at skyrocketing prices. If the government will not stop ‘atta’ and sugar smuggling, we will not only buy commodities at skyrocketing prices but face the worst shortage in the future, people bemoaned.

Sadia Riazwan, a housewife said that she was visiting the government-run stores for three days to purchase sugar but in vain. Finally, I decided to purchase sugar from the open market shop but the shopkeeper demanded Rs130 for a 1-kilogram commodity, she said. Muhammad Asif Kiani, a common citizen said that the sitting government has broken the back of poor people in the country. How we could survive in this situation and how we could purchase all food items.