‘We can’t sell sugar that low’

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LAHORE: Sugar price remained high despite surplus availability in the market on Saturday as retailers refused to sell sugar at Rs 72 per kg saying that they could not book loss.
Sugar retailers told Pakistan Today that the government was planning to force retailers to lower prices while it had failed to launch a crackdown against profiteers and black marketers. They said this will disturb the market mechanism and will create a shortage.
They said it was completely illogical to ask retailers to lower rates leaving the big fishes to fleece people. “We have bought sugar at higher rates and now we are being asked to sell it at lower rates. How can we sell it at Rs 72 when we bought it at Rs 100 per kg?” questioned Iqbal Ahmed, a shopkeeper at Faisal Town.
“A number of shopkeepers in the area have decided not to sell sugar for a couple of days, as it is better than going behind bars,” he said.
Lahore Karyana & General Merchants Association, Muslim Tajar Ittehad President Rao Muhammad Akram Khan said it was impossible to sell sugar at government announced rates.
“Sugar millers and black marketers are earning huge profits and stocking sugar while the government is not taking any action. Why should the retailers sacrifice and sell sugar at lower rates when we have purchased it at very high rates,” he said.
He forecasted that there was a grim chance that sugar will be available for Rs 72 per kg in the market. “Low-sugar-price-slogan was only politicians’ instrument to pacify innocent people,” he said.
“The government could control prices in the coming days after the sugarcane crushing starts. But the government will not do so, as powerful sugar mafia is making policies and never lets the prices come down,” said Khan. He rationalised that the government should assure sugar supply at lower rates if it wanted to control sugar retail prices.
“We have nothing to do with high prices, it is the dealers who earn profit,” he lamented. Punjab Sugar Dealers Association President Rana Ayub said, “We sold sugar in Akbari Mandi at Rs 69 per kg today [Saturday] and now the retailers should also follow suit. Sugar supply directly from the port has started and prices will come down.”