By: Qasim Nawaz Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: The inquiry committee constituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan meant for probing the increase in sugar prices has made its report public. It is revealed during the inquiry that sugar mills despite the low production of sugarcane in the subsequent harvesting season 2018-19 exported 1.1 million tons of sugar in 2019. The mill owners made profits in two ways: one from the subsidy given by Punjab government and secondly from the increasing sugar prices in the local market, the report said.
The PM has directed a forensic analysis of 10 sugar mills to further expand the findings.
The report also highlighted the negative role of the Punjab Government in this regard which despite knowing the upcoming low production of sugarcane allowed the influential mill owners to export the sugar and gave subsidy.
The JDW Sugar Mills Limited and JK (Colony II) owned by PTI’s leader Jahangeer Khan Tareen gained profits worth billions. According to report Jhangeer Khan Tareen’s mill exported 17.24% of its total production and gained Rs. 561037418 by availing 22.71% of the total subsidy.
Almoiz Industries Limited and Thal Industries Corporation owned by Shamim Ahmad Khan exported 29% and availed 16.46% of total export subsidy amounting to Rs 406534222. The third mill made a profit of Rs. 452343696 availing 18.31% of total export subsidy is owned by Makhdom Umer Shehryar who is relative of Federal Minister Makhdum Khusro Bakhtiar. According to the report, Chaudhary Munir and MNA Chaudhary Moonis Elahi are also partners in this group.
These top three groups collectively availed a total export subsidy of 57.49% that amounts to Rs. 1.4 billion.
The report further said that Punjab Government was providing subsidy when the prices of sugar was increasing in the local market. The Punjab Government withdrew the subsidy when 62% of total sugar was already exported. According to the report mill owners who availed maximum benefit had influence in the decision making and used political powers to benefit themselves.
Initially the PM had constituted two high-powered committees under Director General Federal Investigation Agency and comprising a senior officer of Intelligence Bureau and DG Anti Corruption Establishment Punjab to investigate the causes behind the crises and price hike of the said commodities.