KARACHI: The blame game over the ongoing sugar crisis continues as, after the centre, Sindh, on Saturday, held Islamabad responsible for the serious commodity shortage in the country.
“The federal government took no measures from August till now to end the sugar shortage,” said Sindh Minister for Information and Labour and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader Saeed Ghani while speaking to the media in Karachi.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed the PPP-led Sindh government for the sugar crisis, but the people responsible for making flour, sugar, petrol and medicines expensive are with Imran Khan.”
A day earlier, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry rebuked the Sindh government for an alleged increase in flour and Sugar prices. Chaudhry claimed the provincial government had the sugar shortage by delaying the crushing season not releasing the existing stock.
On Friday, PM Imran had also said that the closure of three sugar mills in Sindh had contributed to the hike in the price of sugar.
Repudiating the allegation, Ghani said, “PTI ministers put Omni Group sugar mills into Sindh government’s account. Supreme Court has frozen the accounts of Omni Group CEO Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majid’s sugar mills, which had created a deficit of 400,000 tonnes sugar in Sindh.”
“Former president Asif Zardari have any sugar mill in Sindh. However, the province does have mills of the PTI leaders and their allies,” he added.
“Sugar mill owners had already warned the government that a shortfall could take place, and now the nation is being punished for Imran Khan’s incompetence.”
According to Ghani, Punjab produced most of the sugar in the country and added that no other province could be blamed for the sugar shortage in Sindh.
“Production of sugar in Punjab is 3,546,000 tonnes, while its production in Sindh is 1,550,000 tonnes,” he explained.
On the other hand, Spokesperson for Finance Minister Muzammil Aslam claimed that sugar mills owners increased the commodity price after the Sindh government did not start sugarcane crushing. He said the provincial government did nothing about the sugar price control.
On November 4, a Sindh cabinet meeting had decided to fix the minimum support price for sugarcane at Rs250 per 40 kilogrammes. The meeting had also proposed the beginning of the crushing season by November 15.