ISLAMABAD - Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has forwarded the controversial summary, seeking fortnightly oil pricing determination, to the ECC ostensibly in a bid to benefit influential oil refineries of the country despite strong opposition from OGRA and Finance Ministry.
Ogra and Finance Ministry, during the ECC meeting convened on 6th April, strongly opposed fortnightly oil pricing and had asked for long-term oil pricing mechanism being followed in neighbouring country of India. The regulatory authority however asserted that specification of the pricing of POL products should be minimum right after three months while maximum it should be for six months only to end hoarding, over charging and black marketing of POL products.
However, viewing severe criticism on 15 days oil pricing summary, the ECC resultantly constituted a sub-committee under the chairmanship of Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar to look into nitty-gritty of the fortnightly pricing of POL products. However, in accordance with sources, this sub-committee did not convene its meeting while the Petroleum Minister got verbal consent of the Minster for Water and Power, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Nadeem ul Haq as members of this sub committee on simple phone calls and later sent the summary to their respective offices for their signatures.
Besides, the regulatory authority, seeking federal government consideration, asked the government to protect common man from further inflationary pressures. OGRA along with Finance Ministry earlier, strongly opposing the determination of fortnightly pricing of POL products, had said that this act would cause increase in hoarding of POL products in the country and would also be the cause to benefit influential owners of refineries and oil marketing companies (OMCs) at the cost of over-burdened consumers already bearing heavy brunt of sky high prices of POL products.
Further, in order to provide macro-economic stability, the regulator had suggested that the federal government may, for the time being, switch over to fixation/determination of prices either on quarterly or six months basis. The regulatory body in its suggestion highlighted that Indian government has not revised domestic oil prices for an extended period of time to protect the common man. Again, complete deregulation of petroleum products prices may also be considered when prices are stable or declining.
“India had not raised the prices of petrol, kerosene and diesel since 01-12-2011. India revised petrol price from 63.37 (Indian rupee) to 65.64 per litre during 15-05-11 to 01-12-2011”, sources said.