- OGRA refuses to accept responsibility of petrol crisis, says it informed oil companies and Petroleum Ministry about petrol stock situation on December 28, 2014
- Petroleum minister says petrol shortage to completely end in few days as provinces being given more petrol than their average demand
The axe eventually fell on the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) as the two-member probe committee formed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over petrol crisis held the Authority responsible for the mess, giving a clean chit to the federal ministers, according to the committee’s initial report released on Tuesday.
Consequently, Pakistan State Oil (PSO) Deputy Managing Director Finance Sohail Butt has been suspended while the premier, chairing a meeting to review actions taken to curb petrol crisis in the country, has directed officials to ensure that petrol crisis is eliminated. The meeting also endorsed the earlier decision of suspending four senior officials responsible for the crisis.
According to the probe report, OGRA has been inefficient in regulating the supply of petroleum products and is also responsible for not effectively keeping stock of fuel.
However, OGRA has refused to accept the responsibility of the ongoing petrol crisis in Punjab. It further said that OGRA had informed the oil companies and Petroleum Ministry about the petrol stock on December 28 and holding the regulator responsible was “unjustified”.
According to the sources, a post of Member (Oil) in OGRA is vacant for the past six months which caused lack of quorum that eventually resulted in failure to take decisions. Interviews for the post have already been conducted and the prime minister has yet to approve an eligible candidate for the post.
Separately, the opposition parties in the National Assembly have submitted a requisition against the petrol shortage. The requisition maintains that the masses are facing severe problems due to petrol crisis and the government must take needed measures to curb the shortage.
In the meanwhile, talking to state TV, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Tuesday said the prevailing situation was improving gradually and petrol shortage would completely end within a few days.
The minister said that the volume of petrol supply has been increased due to a sudden surge in its day-to-day demand, following a substantial reduction in prices of petroleum products.
Replying to a question, the minister said petrol was available in Karachi in sufficient quantity and there was no shortage in Sindh.
“Regular supply is being ensured in Karachi and petrol is available at all PSO outlets there,” he said.
Commenting on present petrol supply situation in different cities of Punjab and the federal capital, Abbasi said 1,600,000 litres of petrol has been provided in Lahore against its regular consumption of 800,000 litres.
As many as 550,000 and 625,000 litres of petrol have been given in Rawalpindi and Islamabad against their routine demand of around 400,000 and 600,000 litres respectively, he added.
To another question, the minister said that the country had sufficient petrol reserves to meet the present fuel demand, adding that oil import was continuing as per routine.
At a press conference Monday, Abbasi had accepted the responsibility for the crisis and said that he was ashamed on behalf of the government that the crisis had been allowed to continue.
On the other hand, in a separate press talk Monday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had absolved himself of any direct or indirect responsibility for the petrol shortage and termed it “a conspiracy against the government”.