Govt agencies to take action on sugar, wheat commission reports: Shahzad


ISLAMABAD, JULY 17 (DNA) – Government agencies will take action on the sugar and wheat commission reports, but none of them is bound to implement them as each agency has to review the information on its own, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Accountability Shahzad Akbar said Friday.

Addressing a press conference in federal capital Friday, Shahzad Akbar said as the Supreme Court of Pakistan has vacated stay order of Sindh High Court on the issue, the government will proceed into the matter. He said that SC had also directed the high courts to decide pending petitions relating to sugar commission within three weeks period.

He said the government proceedings include punitive action against the responsible of the sugar crisis, reforming sugar policy and rationalizing sugar price.

Shahzad Akbar has said some Rs 254 million of Ramzan Package 2018 had been misappropriated by 149 flour mills tasked to provide Atta to people on subsidised rates.

He told media persons that from out of Rs 254 million a sum of Rs 190 million has already been recovered and deposited into national exchequer. While action was also being taken against 156 officials of food department. The anti corruption department has started criminal proceedings against 70 officials of food department, who were directly involved in misappropriation of wheat subsidy.

He said 149 flour mills were involved in the embezzlement of wheat from out of a total of 687 mills. Right now, due to strict measures taken, a 20 kg flour bag was available at Rs 860. In case of complaint helpline of Punjab government could be contacted.

Over 100 stay orders regarding sugar mills were still pending in different courts since the last 11 years. The government had made public sugar inquiry commission report first time in the history. Islamabad High Court had also vacated sugar mills association’s stay order after vigorous persuasion by the government.

On receiving Sugar Inquiry Report, he said the federal cabinet had approved a strategy including roadmap of taking punitive action, introducing reforms and rationalising the price of sugar.

A committee headed by Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar has been constituted to finalise the reforms in sugar policy and rationalise prices of sugar. The committee has started negotiations with sugar mills association in this regard.

Provincial governments, Competition Commission of Pakistan, State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) have been directed to investigate violations by sugar mills in accordance with their rules and report within a period of 90 days.

A reference has been sent to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate the misappropriation in subsidies given to sugar mills according to NAB ordinance 1999.

The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) would probe last 10 years cartelisation in sugar industry, State Bank of Pakistan will investigate sugar mills wilful loan defaults, pledged sugar stocks according to their rules.

FIA will inquire the fake export of sugar to Afghanistan and report within 90 days period. Provincial governments have been asked to probe violations by sugar mills including paying less price of sugarcane to farmers and other violations. Responding to a question, he said the delay in action against sugar was due to litigation punitive actions. =DNA