Pakistani PM takes sweet dishes off Ramadan menu for sugar shortage

Pakistani PM Gilani has ordered his cook to stop making sweet dishes as part of a drive to bring down the price of sugar during Ramadan.

Pakistani PM takes sweet dishes off Ramadan menu for sugar shortage

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has ordered his cook to stop making sweet dishes as part of a drive to bring down the price of sugar during Ramadan.

A cabinet meeting on Wednesday formed a committee to look into the price of sugar and submit recommendations within 10 days, but with public pressure mounting during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Gilani has sought to set a personal example.

"The orders are being implemented from today," an official at the Prime Minister House said. "He wants to tell the people that they can live healthier by taking less sugar."

Sugar prices surged in Pakistan ahead of Ramadan, which began last month, as traditionally people tend to eat more sweet dishes when they break their daily fast at dusk.

Surging demand for imports, especially from neighbour India, the world's top sugar consumer, pushed prices of raw sugar futures in New York to a 28-½ year high earlier this month.

The government has sold sugar at subsidised rates without satisfying demand, with long queues common sights outside state-run discount shops across the country.

Authorities say there was no shortage of sugar in the country and blamed hoarders for creating an "artificial crisis".

"Let's persuade people to consume less sugar and then we will see where these hoarders sell their sugar," Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Wednesday.

Pakistan's annual sugar consumption fluctuates between 3.6 million and 4.2 million tonnes.

Prime Minister Gilani expressed concern that average annual consumption of sugar stood at 25 kgs (55 pounds) per person, higher than India, China and Bangladesh.

"Our society must react to the situation through its actions and it is high time," The News daily quoted him as saying.

Reuters
Last Mod: 10 Eylül 2009, 15:32
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