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Government makes forensic report of inquiry commission on sugar public

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Accountability Shahzad Akbar said on Thursday the government is going to make public a report of the Sugar Inquiry Commission formed to fix responsibility for the sugar crisis that hit the country earlier this year.

Speaking to media alongside Information Minister Shibli Faraz, he said the report will be made available on the Press Information Department (PID) website today.

The report vindicates what the prime minister has been stating from day one, Shahzad Akbar said.

“It has been the prime minister’s stance that if a businessman joins politics, he will still do business at people’s expense,” he said, adding the people are suffering because certain businessmen have taken the entire industry hostage.

According to the report, he revealed sugar mill owners inflicted losses on sugarcane growers consistently.

The commission found irregularities in advance payments to farmers in the form of cash or commodity, which is tantamount to unregulated banking, he disclosed, adding mill owners hurt farmers by indulging in informal banking and earned a profit of up to 35 per cent, he added.

Shahzad Akbar said the farmers were paid far less amount for their produce than the support price.

An impartial inquiry has been carried out into the production cost for the first time, he said, pointing out that sugar mills had fixed the cost of production at Rs51 per kilo in 2017-18, but the commission estimated it at Rs38 instead.

Similarly, in 2018-19, sugar millers set cost price at little over Rs52 but the report gave an estimate of Rs40.

The government’s point man accountability revealed that the sugar mill owners bought sugarcane at a lower price but showed a higher price in invoices.

In Sindh, Akbar said, the Omni Group benefited from the subsidies provided by the Sindh government.

Earlier today, the special meeting of the federal cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, approved to make public probe report of the sugar inquiry commission.

The cabinet gave approval after the inquiry commission presented a forensic report on the sugar scandal in the federal cabinet session. During the meeting, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Wajid Zia briefed the members of the cabinet on the report.

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