Lahore: Prime Minister Imran Khan has assured Zaka Ashraf, Chairman Pakistan Sugar Mills Association of promotion of free economy of sugar business, the (PSMA) Chairman quoted the PM as saying on Friday at a press conference in Lahore.
“Recently, I had a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan. During the meeting, the PM ensured me that the government of Pakistan shall promote free economy of sugar business in the country.
“Sugar industry is an important industry of Pakistan which fulfills the sugar needs of the country. If this industry lacks proper functioning then it compels the government to import sugar after spending huge sum of money which the country cannot bear,” he said.
He also thanked media for highlighting PSMA issues during last press conference in Avari Hotel, Lahore.
For the purpose, the Prime Minister made a high-level committee under the chair of Finance Advisor Shaukat Tarin, Zaka Ashraf said.
The committee includes three federal ministers, federal secretaries, and provincial chief secretaries.
Zaka Ashraf said the finance advisor also assured them that the prices fixed by the Governments of Punjab and Sindh shall also remain as national prices.
The government itself will not indulge in setting the prices of sugarcane and sugar. The government will leave the pricing to decide on market mechanism but the government shall maintain strategic reserve stocks and intervene market at appropriate time to supplement the market and to keep the prices at a reasonable level, he explained.
“If surplus sugar is produced then government will purchase that sugar and later also allow the sugar mills to export that surplus sugar.
“Shaukat Tarin has also assured us that he will persuade banks for arranging the working capital for the sugar mills so that the mills can timely pay to the farmers. He also stressed us to pay the farmers within 15 to 20 days of the start of crushing season,” he said.
Mr Zaka Ashraf said the finance advisor also assured them that the sugar industry’s problems related Competition Commission of Pakistan and FBR will be resolved on priority basis. Tarin has also asked the federal and provincial secretaries to resolve the issues of sugar industry especially matters related to arrests, registering of FIRs and conducting raids on the sugar mills, he informed.
The PSMA chairman said that Mr Tarin has also assured them that he will regularly conduct meetings with the sugar industry officials and will also make efforts to resolve their problems.