LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday provisionally authorized the government of Punjab to apply the ex-factory price of sugar at Rs80 to meet demand for the product during the next month of Ramazan.
Before passing the order, Judge Shahid Jamil Khan gave the mills and the government two opportunities to resolve the issue amicably. The mills agreed to sell sugar at Rs83 to the government, but the dialogue was unsuccessful.
Tandlianwala Sugar Mills and others had challenged the government’s decision to set the ex-works price of sugar at Rs 80.
Opposing the petitions, a government lawyer said there were 2.5 million tonnes of sugar in factory stock while demand during Ramazan would be around 155,000 tonnes.
The judge observed that there should be no shortage of sugar during the fasting month. It allowed the government to buy sugar from the mills at Rs80 to meet demand in Ramazan. The judge postponed the hearing of the petitions to a date to be set after Eidul Fitr.
Previously, the judge suspended the disputed notification of the ex-works price. The factories ‘lawyer argued that the government had damaged the applicants’ reputations by making false allegations of hoarding. They said the industries department had delegated its officials to the mills to enforce the ex-works price of sugar.
They argued that the government could not impose its prices on factories and asked the court to overturn the contested notification regarding the pricing of the product.
Meanwhile, speaking to a presser, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Accountability and Home Affairs, Shahzad Akbar, said the government had set Rs80 as the ex-factory price and Rs85 for the retail price of sugar based on data provided by the mills in addition to adding 15 percent profit. .
After the LHC decision on ex-factory and retail sugar fixation, Mr Akbar tweeted: Great relief from the LHC, in which he ordered a supply of sugar at Rs80 ex-factory, as determined by the federal governments and provincial during Ramazan.
He also tweeted that it was the first victory for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government in protecting ordinary people from profiteers.
Stating that a Re1 increase in the price per kilogram of sugar meant a profit of Rs.5.5 billion for sweets, Akbar explained that the price of sugar had been increased by Rs.30 to Rs. 40 per kg.
The government clawed back 400 billion rupees from abnormal profiteers, while there were court suspensions over an abnormal profit clawback of 60 billion rupees, he added.
Posted in Dawn on April 8, 2021
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