Shopkeepers and wholesalers have purchased sugar from Utility Stores Corporation (USC) in large quantities resulting in severe shortage of sugar at utility stores. “Due to high demand of sugar during Ramazan and poor checks by the USC management on its outlets, the shopkeepers are purchasing sugar in large quantities following reduction in sugar prices under the Ramazan package which is creating problems for the common man”, an official source said. Official said that shopkeepers and wholesaler had begun purchasing sugar in large quantities.
The Ramazan package comprises of Rs 2.5 billion subsidy for 13 different edible items however there is no special subsidy for sugar under the Ramazan package as sugar is sold usually at subsidised rates throughout the year. He said that prior to announcement of the Ramazan package, sugar bags of 5 kilograms were being sold for Rs 235. Its rate during Ramazan was fixed at Rs 210 but sugar is not available at the USC outlets because it is being misappropriated and sold to shopkeepers in large quantities, he alleged.
A number of consumers told Business Recorder that they easily managed to buy ‘atta’, ghee and cooking oil from the USC outlets but failed to get sugar. They demanded the federal government to take immediate notice of non-provision of sugar to customers at the USC outlets. General Manger USC Masood Niazi said that there was no shortage of sugar at USC stores but maintained that demand had increased due to reduction in price.
“Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has provided 75,000 metric tons of sugar for Ramazan to USC, some 25,000 tons higher than normal monthly requirements”, he said. He said that normally, USC’s monthly sale was 50,000 metric tons of sugar however, for Ramazan it placed orders for an additional 25,000 metric tons as usually sugar demand increased during the month. When asked about the sale of sugar to shopkeepers and wholesalers, he said that the USC vigilance teams were continuously conducting visits of different markets and kept close eye on the sale of sugar. However, he said that some time shortage of sugar in a particular USC store may occur due to delay in transportation of sugar from warehouse to utility store.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2012