Staff Reporter Islamabad
Pakistan Sugar Mills Association Central Chairman Chaudhry Zaka Ashraf on Friday said that reservations against the government now stand removed and all matters regarding the production and sale of sugar will normalise soon.
Ashraf’s remarks came following a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, where talks on the sugar industry including the prevailing sugar crisis were held.
“The sugarcane industry is an important industry of the country,” PM Imran Khan said. The premier noted that Ashraf is “doing a good job” and assured him that like other industries, the sugar industry will also be protected.
“The government will do its job and the sugar industry must do its own,” the prime minister said.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Ashraf said that all pending issues between the government and the industry “have been resolved”.
“(Adviser on Finance) Shaukat Tarin has also said that the prime minister has given us full authority,” the association chairman said, addin g that the premier has assured the industry of the government’s “full cooperation”.
Speaking of the start of the sugar crushing season in Punjab, Ashraf said that the ac ket forces will determine the price of sugar and expressed the confidence that with the start of the crushing season, prices will fall. He also said that the finance adviser had assured the association that the government “will not fix the price of sugarcane and sugar”.
“The government will keep strategic sugar reserves and will not give any subsidy for sugar,” he said. “Prices will be such that they are affordable for the people and we will not face any losses either,” he added.
Ashraf said that sugar production is expected to be 6.5 million tons. Regarding the government’s crackdown on sugar mill owners and management, he said: “If the sellers of sugar will be put in jail then who will sell sugar?”
Ashraf said that the government will persuade banks to provide working capital to the sugar mills and revealed that it had urged the mills to pay farmers in 15 to 20 days.