The sugar industry is facing harmful and destructive propaganda: Mian Zahid Hussain

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said the sugar industry is facing harmful and destructive propaganda, which is also reflecting in critical decisions by authorities.

The price of sugar has not only increased, but everything, including flour, ghee, pulses, beef, mutton, etc., has increased, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that Prime Minister should listen to the stance of the sugar millers as propaganda has disheartened investors and workers in the second biggest industrial sector.

A group of sugar mills owners told Mian Zahid Hussain that the sugar industry shares Rs484 billion in the GDP; it pays Rs80 billion in taxes and Rs359 billion to farmers and earns 500 million dollars through the export of ethanol which can be increased to three billion dollars.

They said that sales tax on sugar was increased from 8 percent to 17 percent in 2019-20 while the interest rates were high, which contributed to high prices of the commodity, but the industry was held responsible for the hike.

A subsidy of Rs2.5 billion was given to sugar mills to export surplus sugar to continue operations that balanced demand and supply position, which was made an issue. At the same time, the fact remains that government give subsidies on almost 700 items, said Mian Zahid Hussain.

He said that the government insisted on starting the crushing season well before the crop was not ripe, which resulted in losses to the tune of billions to the sugar industry and output was reduced by 1,67000 tonnes.

He noted that increased sugar prices are the result of enhanced sales tax, a free hand to intermediaries, hoarders and profiteers.

The role of intermediaries and aarti is essential in the market mechanism, but it should be balanced while hoarding should be discouraged to reduce the price of sugar.

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