PSMA KP zone slams arrest of sugar mill-owners in Punjab
LAHORE: The Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Zone has condemned the arrest of sugar mill-owners and other senior management in Punjab.
This alarming situation has further exacerbated the crisis-like situation of the sugar industry, which was already facing severe financial constraints, it said.
As the crushing season is around the corner, the sugar mills are perturbed over the looming situation of any government order for early start of the crushing season. If last year’s practice of early start of the crushing season is implemented, then it will affect the overall sugar production, forcing the government to import sugar.
At present, sugarcane crop worth approximately Rs500 billion is ready and if illegal practices like the Punjab government used to employ will continue, then it will not only damage the interest of the farmers and industry but also the country.
“We urge the government to help steer the sugar industry out of this grim situation,” the KP zone representatives said, adding that the government is importing sugar ranging between $600 and $700/tonne, at a landed value of Rs130/kilogramme without any tax.
The government of Pakistan has exempted imported sugar from all taxes, which is completely unfair to the local industry and against the fundamental rights of the growers, mill-owners and all those that are dependent on the industry.
In effect, the government is subsidising the foreign sugar industry and penalising its own sugar industry, they said.
Therefore, the resolution of issues through dialogue will not only help the industry present its point of view, but is critical for the survival of the sugar industry, the growers and the rural economy.
“We request the federal government to hold dialogue for resolving all issues instead of going for humiliation of those who had invested billions of rupees in the local industry.”
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