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Ogra rejects petrol crisis report, says did its job

Officials said they did everything against OMCs under the law

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 19, 2020 | Last Updated: 10 months ago
Posted: Dec 19, 2020 | Last Updated: 10 months ago

People stand in a queue in Karachi May 1 as the government has reduced petrol prices in Pakistan for May on the recommendation of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority during the lockdown. Photo: Online

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority has rejected the inquiry commission report on the petrol crisis and are preparing a response. It has been accused of turning a blind eye to the petrol crisis in June, and not properly fining oil companies for breaking the rules.

In a meeting chaired by acting chairperson Noorul Haque, officials called the allegations made by the commission untrue. They said that the oil companies were fined as much as the law allowed them.

“Ogra cannot remain silent to these accusations,” said an Ogra official. “We will respond to the inquiry report.”

What does the Petrol Inquiry Commission report say?   

A 15-member Inquiry Commission submitted a 163-page report on the petrol crisis that took place in June. The commission noted that the industry broke many rules and regulations which went unchecked by Ogra.

Therefore, the commission has recommended departmental proceedings against OGRA officials and asked for the regulatory body to be dissolved within six months.

The commission noted that the petroleum division banned oil imports in March, when international prices were declining. Pakistani consumers were denied any benefit from cheaper petrol.

The commission largely held Ogra accountable for the crisis. It said that Ogra symbolically fined oil marketing companies for not lifting stocks from refineries according to the rules. The OMCs dried up their stocks as the people struggled to buy fuel. Crowded petrol pumps were seen where petrol was available amid the first Covid-19 wave.

The commission also took the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) to task. It accused it of “apathy, incompetence flavoured with malpractices, and disregard to laws/rules.”

The report has also criticized the role of OMCs, especially Byco.

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