Government intends to enforce a new law for the prevention of hoarding and profiteering, through a Presidential Ordinance. After chairing the meeting of National Coordination Committee, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the new law would empower the law enforcement agencies to nab a man on the top involved in hoarding and profiteering. The punishment for this offence will remain the same three years as envisaged in the “Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering Act,” but the proposed law will simplify the procedure for making arrest and confiscation of hoarded commodities.
The major factor behind the illicit and malpractices of hoarding and profiteering are cartelization of economy by political elites and business tycoons. The cartels of food commodities were made well entranced by making Competitive Commission of Pakistan (CCP) dysfunctional in 2008 and later rendered toothless in 2013. Consequently, the producers, distributors and whole-sellers found it easy to mint money by restriction supply to the retail market. Previously from 2000-07, the CCP has always swung into action against the cartels to curb hoarding and profiteering to held the people responsible for these heinous practices. During the genuine short supply of agriculture products, the government quickly approved the imports to discourage cartel mafia.
In addition to this, these cartel mafias went to extreme length to deliberately push agriculture into chronic crises. Our agriculture is so convoluted that all the variables like land, seeds, fertilizers, processing industries among others are totally controlled or owned by these feudal cum cartels, which is clearly indicated in the recent wheat and sugar scams. The burning question is; who will bill the cat to implement the new Anti-hoarding Law, when it is executed? This will has to be implemented in spirit by the Provincial governments through local administration. It is an undeniable truth that a government functionary will think 100 times before he takes actions against those stakeholders of cartels, who either sits in the corridors of power or has strong links there.