Sugar is sold by the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) for Rs. 94 per kg, while the open market rate is Rs. 90 per kg.
Despite the Ministry of Industries and Production’s claims that the price of sugar has not risen, USC has been selling sugar at the cost as mentioned above to customers who fail to show their identity cards at the time of purchase.
According to sources, the USC purchased sugar at Rs. 81.99 per kg in two tenders opened on 27 March and 4 April after canceling a tender to buy sugar at Rs. 86 per kg in February due to a market crash when the ex-mill price reached Rs. 78 per kg in February.
According to the sources, the tender could not be reissued due to mismanagement within USC, and the delay forced it to buy expensive sugar from the market when the ex-mill price of sugar jumped to Rs. 81.99 per kg in March, for which a tender was issued.
Khursheed Abbas, Sugar Manager at USC, stated that the tender was delayed due to Pakistan Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules. He explained that the sugar mill in Rahim Yar Khan had been awarded the tender for the purchase of sugar, and that the increased cost of transportation had resulted in the increased price of sugar.
He also told ProPakistani that the next tender for sugar procurement would be held on April 26.
The Ministry of Industries denied media reports that sugar prices would rise at utility stores during Ramadan. It said in a statement that “after receiving reports of sugar being sold at Rs. 94 per kg at some utility stores, the ministry took strong notice and began an investigation (sic).”
According to the statement, sugar is sold at Rs. 85 per kg in all utility stores across Pakistan. Furthermore, the government ensures that all eatable items are available at subsidized prices at all utility stores.