Cabinet approves formation of reforms committee for sugar sector

PM Imran Khan vows not to spare anyone involved in the sugar crisis

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet, following the advice of the Ministry of Industries and Production, on Tuesday approved formation of a Sugar Reforms Committee in order to devise a long-term strategy to bring reforms in the sugar sector in the light of recommendations given by an inquiry commission.

According to sources, the formation of the committee was proposed by the Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar. 

During the meeting of the federal cabinet, Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed not to make any concessions regarding the sugar crisis and carry out across the board accountability. According to sources, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jehangir Tareen is also reported to be involved in the crisis. 

“The committee held a detailed discussion on the sugar sector and discussed possible reforms,” said the federal minister for information in a post cabinet meeting press conference.

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Recent forensic audit report of the sugar inquiry commission noted that basic regulation was lacking and suggested improvement in the regulatory system urging the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to step up their efforts.

It also recommended that assistant commissioners and deputy commissioners should ensure full payments to farmers and that technology should be used for bookkeeping and a mechanism should be developed to ‘recover the looted amount’.

The sugar commission was constituted by the government in the first week of April following the release of two separate inquiry reports by the FIA on the issue of artificial shortage of sugar and wheat in the country and a sudden increase in their prices during the previous year.

After the release of the report, the opposition had demanded that the prime minister should take action against those who had been declared responsible by the FIA.

Meanwhile, the meeting also discussed the issue of fake professional degrees of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilots. 

According to sources, the cabinet was informed that 28 pilots of the national flag carrier have been dismissed from service, 37 pilots have been suspended because of suspected degrees, while 450 pilots have been cleared.

 Similarly, out of the 104 pilots of other airlines, 100 have been cleared and the case of four pilots was said to be in process. The government has decided to initiate criminal proceedings against pilots having fake degrees

Additionally, five officials of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have also been suspended.


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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]
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