Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced on Monday that he had imposed a “complete ban” on the export of sugar, owing to the commodity’s “domestic demand”.
“Given the domestic demand, I have ordered a complete ban on the export of sugar. There will be a [sic] strict action against smuggling and hoarding. Absolutely zero tolerance [will be shown] for those found negligent in their duties,” the prime minister said in a tweet.
According to state-run Radio Pakistan, the ban on the commodity’s export is aimed at stabilising its price in the country.
“The prime minister asked the departments concerned to keep him informed about [the] implementation of his orders. The officer[s] concerned and staff will be held accountable for any negligence,” the Radio Pakistan report said.
Consumers have been complaining about the shortage of sugar and flour at utility stores since last month when the government had taken the initiative to reduce the prices of various food items in a bid to provide relief to the people during Ramazan.
According to a Dawn report, the shortage was particularly reported in Punjab, where utility stores had run out of sugar.
The report had quoted consumers as complaining that store administrations were conditioning sale and purchase of oil and sugar with other items and not providing single items to consumers. Utility Stores Corporation staff later denied the allegation.
The consumers had demanded that the government ensured the availability of sugar and other items at utility stores.
Utility Stores Corporation spokesperson Sajid Rehman had told Dawn at the time that the shortage was temporary due to rush at the stores.