KARACHI: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday opposed move of the government to deregulate prices of sugar, terming it against the interests of masses as it will trigger price hike.
The decision to deregulate prices, allowing export of half million tonnes of sugar and an export subsidy of Rs 13 per kg should be reconsidered as it will put additional burden of Rs7 billion on public exchequer, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
Talking to VP FPCCI Fahmida Kausar Jamali, Tabassum Anwar of QCCI, Chairman Coordination FPCCI Malik Sohail and Malakand Investor Iftikhar Khan, he said that sugar export subsidy for the last year was Rs10 and there is no justification for the hike. Allowing export of half a million tonnes can result in shortage in local market; therefore only 1,25,000 tonnes of sugar should be exported which will also save subsidy in billions.
He said that millers are not selling sugar to Utility Store Corporation so that its price sky rocket resulting in windfall for them which must be noticed. Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that government has preferred interests of cane millers over interests of masses to give them undue benefit but has ignored many troubled sector.
One such sector is that of rice where around 5000 mills are struggling to remain afloat due to surplus stock, dwindling exports and bank loans. Government should do something about the sector that use to earn $2.2 billion dollars per annum, he demanded.