ISLAMABAD (PPI) - Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) has shown great concerns over brewing sugar crisis in the country, which has is pushing up the prices of sugar ahead of Ramazan and urged the government to allow private sector to import raw sugar of desired quantity for averting any serious shortage of sugar in coming days. Zahid Maqbool, President, ICCI said that the country consumes about 4.2 million tons sugar annually while as per statistics of Agriculture Ministry production of sugar this year was 3.4 million ton. He said despite clear directions from Economic Coordination Committee to import 1.2 million ton sugar in April, TCP imported only 230,000 ton, which has caused the sugar prices to soar steeply worsening the sugar crisis across the country. He said private sector should be allowed to import raw sugar as import of refined sugar would cost the country dearly. He said there were already reports that sugarcane crop this year would be less than the required level and government should have taken a proactive approach by ensuring timely import of sugar to fill demand supply gap. Zahid Maqbool was afraid that if import of raw sugar is further delayed, the poor people will have to pay heavy price for governments inaction. He said sugar is an essential commodity and any increase in its price is bound to badly affect the common man. He said that sugar was selling at around Rs.30 per kg a year ago, but due to inattention and lack of proper administrative measures on the part of the government, its price has now gone beyond Rs.60 per kg putting huge burden on the common man. He said import of raw sugar should be allowed with zero custom duty and reduced rate of GST, otherwise 17 per cent sales tax and other incidental charges will take the price of imported sugar beyond the purchasing power of general public. He said that when up-country transport charges are added, the price of imported sugar would go very high making it unaffordable for majority of people. Therefore, government should take all possible measures to keep sugar price in the range of purchasing power of common man, he stressed.