The final report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Sugar crisis in Pakistan has revealed in which the regulators have been held responsible for the rise in sugar prices and its crisis.
Shehzad Akbar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan for Accountability, released the report at a press conference in Islamabad.
Shehzad Akbar said that the federal cabinet had decided to release the inquiry report on the Sugar crisis. He said that today is a very important day in the history of Pakistan, no one in the history of Pakistan had the courage to form such a commission.
He said that the price of sugar continued to rise which was investigated by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Shahzad Akbar said that on this historic day we should appreciate that we are moving in the right direction.
He said that the Commission of Inquiry on the sugar crisis had submitted a detailed report and there were many questions. Shehzad Akbar said that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet have announced to make the inquiry report public. From today, this inquiry report is public. He said that the report contains some surprising revelations, all aspects were covered, the report said that sugar mills pay less than the subsidy price to the farmers.
He said that the report explained how the farmers were harmed and the weight of sugarcane was reduced by more than 15%. He said that sugarcane is bought from farmers at low prices through raw slips and commission agents. The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister said that by buying at a lower price, the cost is shown to be higher and the farmer is paid less in terms of deduction.
Shehzad Akbar said that the Prime Minister always says that a businessman will also do business in politics, but now this has come true.
He said that the farmer was continuously harmed, sugarcane was bought for less than Rs 140 in 2019, the farmer was abused in the name of deduction, sugar mills would harm the farmers by reducing the quantity by 15 to 30 percent.
On the occasion, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said that the government’s manifesto is to change and expose the mafia. He further said that as per the directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the unelected members would also declare their assets.
He said that according to the report, an increase in the price of sugar in the market is not possible without the owners of sugar mills. He said that a kind of gambling was taking place with the price of sugar. The price was shown to be higher by buying it for less money.
Shehzad Akbar said that the report said that the price of sugar in the market has also been determined to increase. Sugar mills have set up two accounts.
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister said that one account is for the government and the other is for Seth. He said that cells have been shown in the name of anonymous customers, tax is evaded on anonymous cell.
Shehzad Akbar said that all the mills have increased their crushing capacity, mills cannot increase their crushing capacity without license. He said that sugar mills incur costs by adding sales tax and the commission had to review the subsidy for five years.
He said that about 25% of sugarcane is under-reported in Pakistan and no tax is paid on sugarcane. Shehzad Group said that Murad Ali Shah gave subsidy only for the benefit of Omni Group, in 2019 the federal government did not give any subsidy.
He further said that Punjab kept a subsidy of Rs. 3 billion in 2019, adding Rs. 5.2 billion profit by increasing the price of sugar by one rupee. Shehzad Akbar said that the Sindh government benefited the Omni Group by subsidizing it. The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister said that a subsidy of Rs. 29 billion has been given in five years and 58% of exports go to Afghanistan.
He said that the commission blamed the regulators for the Chinese crisis, adding that due to the negligence of the regulators, the Chinese crisis had arisen and prices had gone up. Shehzad Akbar said that the commission has recommended sending the cases to NAB, FIA, and anti-corruption.
He said that the Prime Minister had ordered the immediate release of the report and the Cabinet had approved to activate the system and mobilize the institutions.
Shehzad Akbar said that the cabinet also directed to conduct a forensic audit of other mills, while the cabinet recommended recovery and giving money to the people.
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister said that the Cabinet has given me the responsibility and after Eid, recommendations will be prepared on the instructions of the Prime Minister. In response to a question, Shehzad Akbar said that no one’s name has been added to the Exit Control List (ECL) yet. Shehzad Akbar also said that if any investigative body says so, the cabinet will consider putting the name in ECL.