Razak Dawood appears before sugar inquiry commission
| Murad refuses, saying ToRs doesn’t allow them to summon him | Buzdar holds federal govt responsible for subsidy issue
Abdul Razak Dawood – adviser to the PM on trade – on Thursday appeared before the sugar inquiry commission to record his statement.
According to officials, it was the Sugar Advisory Board headed by Dawood, which had proposed sugar export after which the ECC (Economic Coordination Committee) allowed the move.
Earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah refused to appear before the sugar inquiry commission, as the advocate general in a letter said the panel did not have the authority to summon him.
On the other hand, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar held the federal government responsible for the subsidy, saying the decision was taken after consulting the Centre.
The Sindh advocate general in his reply to the second letter sent by the commission – the copy of which is available with 24NewsHD TV channel – said the terms of reference (ToRs) defined for the inquiry panel did not allow it ask the chief minister to appear for probe.
The letter says the inquiry commission formed by the prime minister had held the sugar mills of Punjab responsible for the increase in prices.
Although the prime minister had taken notice of increase in sugar prices from December 2018 to January 2019, the Sindh chief minister was summoned over the subsidy given in 2017 and 2018. The inquiry commission in its two letters sent on May 11 and 13 had asked Murad to appear for briefing.
Talking about the issue, Senator Murtaza Wahab – Sindh government spokesperson – told a TV channel that the chief minister had nothing to do with the current episode and it was an attempt to save someone else.
Meanwhile, Buzdar on Wednesday held the federal government responsible for the subsidy, saying the decision was taken after consulting the Centre.
According to sources, Buzdar said the decision to give subsidy to 15 sugar mills – including that of PTI leader Jahangir Tareen – was taken on December 29, 2018.
He added that mills owners did not start the crushing season till Nov 30 and the federal government directed to accept their demands immediately after the growers started protest.
The Sugar Mills Association had launched an advertisement campaign with a claim that they could not start crushing season because of surplus sugar, said Buzdar.
On December 4, 2018, the chief minister said, an ECC meeting chaired by the then finance minister Asad Umar gave the permission of exporting one million tonne of sugar with a condition that the subsidy would be decided by the provinces.
Later, Punjab decided that a subsidy of Rs3 billion under the formula of Rs5.35 per kilogramme should be given to the sugar mills, he said.