Rising sugar pricesRising sugar prices

SUGAR prices have again been going up for the last several months but the authorities concerned are unmoved and resort to only cosmetic measures. The prices that hovered around Rs. 58 to 60 per kilograms in December last year and January this year have gone up to over Rs. 70 a kilo, mainly because of the decision of the Economic Coordination Committee to allow lavish export of the commodity ignoring its local consumption and demand. We have been pointing out in these columns that at times the ECC has been serving the interests of industry at the cost of consumers but it continued with unilateral decisions on import and export issues. The Committee allowed export of 225,000 tonnes of sugar in December 2016 and given the target of export by end March 2017 on the condition that the decision would be reviewed if prices went up. The prices significantly went up by March and the situation required review of the decision but the ECC, instead, decided to extend the export deadline by May and allowed export of additional 200,000 tonnes of sugar, which sent a clear and loud message to consumers that the government has hands in glove in fleecing them. On a number of occasions in the past as well, the ECC allowed export, offered rebate on exports and imposed hefty duties on import of sugar to deny benefit of falling prices of the commodity in the international market. The ECC has now been reconstituted and would be headed by the Prime Minister himself and hopefully he would keep interests of people uppermost in making crucial decisions.

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