Khudayar Mohla –
ISLAMABAD, (TLTP): In a major development, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government Thursday made public a forensic report of the Sugar Inquiry Commission which was constituted to probe the irregularities in the sugar industry.
Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting Shibli Faraz addressing a press conference along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar after the special cabinet meeting shared the details of the report.
Shibli Faraz said that the PTI government is firmly committed to accountability and transparency in governance. He said the commission gave its detailed report to special cabinet meeting.
Shahzad Akbar said the report explicitly says that sugar mill owners pay amount to sugarcane growers even less than the support price. In addition, all sugar mills make cuts in the weight of sugarcane from 15 to 30 percent.
Akbar said Commission also found irregularities in the form of giving advance payments to farmers in the form of cash or commodity, which is akin to unregulated banking.
Shahzad Akbar said a subsidy of Rs29 billion rupees was given to sugar industry in the last five years. He said it was found that total income tax of around 88 sugar mills of the country is Rs10 billion, after getting a tax refund. He said six big groups of Pakistan have a 51 percent share of sugar industry.
Describing the report as unprecedented, the PM’s accountability aide said no government has ever made such commissions in the past. He said that the Prime Minister has also directed all his advisers and special assistants to declare the details of their assets.
According to the report, PTI former secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen and a brother of ex-minister for National Food Security Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar were the major beneficiaries of the sugar crisis.
As per the findings of the report, the companies owned and controlled by Jahangir Khan Tareen (JDW) exported 17.24% of its total production and availed 22.71% of the total export subsidy amounting to Rs561 million.
The companies owned and controlled by Makhdum Omer Sheryar – a relative of Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar – (RYK Group) had exported 31.17% of its total production and availed 18.31% of the total export subsidy amounting to Rs452 million.
The committee also found that the Punjab government was providing the subsidy for export of sugar at a time when the price of the commodity was increasing in the domestic market.
On the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Wajid Zia conducted a forensic investigation of the recent sugar crisis that hit the country earlier this year.
“The commission traced irregularities in the form of giving advance payments to farmers in the form of cash or commodity, which is akin to unregulated banking,” he added. On April 4, the preliminary findings of the commission on the sugar and wheat crises were made public on instructions of the prime minister.
To further expand the findings, the Premier had directed the committee on sugar to conduct a forensic analysis of its findings. The Prime Minister had constituted two high-powered committees headed by the FIA DG to probe into circumstances that led to the wheat and flour controversy and the reasons behind the increase in sugar prices in the country.
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