National exchequer suffered an estimated INR120bn (US$2.6bn) losses due to cartelisation in cement industry, Chairman Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) Khalid Aziz Mirza disclosed here on Monday.
Speaking with the members of Pakistan Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI), he said that on acting like a cartel, CCP imposed a fine of INR6.3bn (US$136.5m) on the various companies of the cement sector.
Mirza said that the fine imposed on the cement companies was very low against the prevailing rate and conditions in the other countries. He invited cement manufactures for discussion on the fine. “They have right to avail leniency provision as provided in the law,” he added.
The CCP imposed INR6.352bn fine on 20 cement manufacturers as they were found involved in cartelisation, resulting in hike of cement prices to the disadvantage of consumers. Cement manufacturers had filed a case against the investigations being undertaken by the CCP and are also likely to file against the CCP verdict in the Supreme Court. About the fears of increase in the retail prices of cement due to imposition of this fine, Mirza rejected these fears by saying that these have no substance and said it would not affect the stakeholders negatively. He assured that the prices would come down and no stakeholder will be hurt due to this decision.
Mirza defended his report presented to the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on sugar industry in which federal and provincial governments were held responsible for sugar shortage. On the general impression that the report is biased and a bid to protect sugar millers, he said, “There is no bias in the report and the findings are linked to the industrial outlook.”
He informed that another investigation regarding cartelization of sugar mills is also in progress, which would be completed within a week. In his report, Mirza pointed out that government decision to fix the prices was main factor behind sugar crisis. staff report.