Sugar price shoots up to Rs115 per kg

By: News Desk      Published: 12:11 AM, 15 Nov, 2020
Sugar price shoots up to Rs115 per kg

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics has exposed the government’s claims to have adopted measures to control sugar price in the country.

According to the bureau, sugar is being sold at Rs115 per kilogramme in Peshawar, Rs111 per kilogramme in Quetta,  Rs110 in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Karachi, Sialkot and Gujranwala.

It added the commodity rate in Lahore, Sargodha, Multan, Bahawalpur and Hyderabad is Rs105 per kilogramme while its price is Rs102 per kilogramme in Faisalabad and Khuzdar. However, the bureau said sugar price is Rs100 per kilogramme in Sukkur.

According to an official inquiry revealed last month, the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association is prima facie a ‘cartel’ that manipulated the price hike with active coordination of a senior officer of JDW Sugar Mills Group, owned by Jahangir Khan Tareen.

Reports said the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) concluded a 10-month inquiry and unearthed that the PSMA was indulged in illegal activities.

The findings showed that the millers managed a decision to influence the PTI government to allow export of 1.1 million tonnes of sugar that resulted in a 48 per cent increase in the prices.

The commission has again established that the PSMA violated the Competition Act of 2010. It was the second time in the last 10 years the CCP declared that the PSMA was a ‘cartel’ but this time the nature of “crime” appeared more serious.

The findings added: “It appears that starting from 2012 to date, the conduct of PSMA and all its members vis-à-vis collective discussion on stock positions leading to a decision on the quantity to be exported is tantamount to fixing or setting/controlling supply within the relevant market has resulted in price hike that is not based on actual/available supply and demand,” showed the findings.

“It is prima facie violation of Section 4(1) read with Section 4(2)(c) of the Act. Mills have been found to coordinate their production and stock figures based on which decisions on export quantities are made.”

Export data obtained from FBR and price data from PBS showed that export decision had always resulted in a rise in domestic sugar price.

Last week, the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) issued show-cause notices to Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) and its 84 member mills on multiple instances of prima facie cartelization.

The CCP in its enquiry had found the sugar sector continuously behaving on the pattern of 'cartelisation' and using lobbying for manipulating stock position and getting export permission. The PSMA and its members had hiked the prices in the domestic market to gain Rs70 billion extra profit after exporting it.  In February 2019, the price of sugar was Rs60 per kg, which according to the CCP increased to Rs98 per kg as of September, showing an increase of Rs38 or 63%.