Penalty on hoarders, profiteers increased

Law empowers officials to conduct raids without warrants

Exchange Companies Association president anticipated that the rupee would partially recoup losses over the next couple of days on expectations of easing political tensions. Photo: AFP

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly took note of rising concerns among consumers on soaring prices of food items and decided to take strict action against profiteers and hoarders. In this regard the assembly unanimously passed the ‘The Sindh Essential Commodities Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding (Amendment) Bill, 2023’.

The bill suggests stricter penalties and enforcement measures against violators and empowers authorised officers to conduct searches without warrants to ensure effective action against profiteering and hoarding.

Under the amended law, fines for non-compliance with the display of price lists of essential commodities have been significantly increased. Producers or dealers could now face fines of up to Rs100,000, while retailers (excluding pushcart vendors) may be fined up to Rs20,000. Pushcart vendors, on the other hand, could be fined up to Rs10,000 for similar violations. These enhanced fines are aimed at deterring unscrupulous practices and ensuring fair pricing for essential items.

By empowering enforcement authorities to take immediate action against profiteers and hoarders, the government aims to create a more efficient and transparent market for essential commodities, benefiting the general public.

The fine for sale of different commodities at a higher price than the notified official prices has been increased by up to Rs100,000.

The bill was proposed by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) Ghanwer Ali Khan Isran, who also serves as the parliamentary secretary on law and a member of the Sindh Food Control Authority.

The bill empowers the authorised officers to inspect the inventory, stocks, and warehouses of dealers handling essential commodities.

In case articles are seized, individuals can file an appeal before a special magistrate within 30 days.

Additionally, the bill stipulates that any person, except for public office holders, employees of the federal or provincial government, or their family members, who provide information to an authorised officer regarding a violation will be rewarded with an award equivalent to 10 per cent of the recovered fine, which will go to the government exchequer.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2023.

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