Petrol shortage fears loom after price cut

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  • Petroleum Ministry spokesman denies deficiency, says 90,000 tonnes of reserve is available with marketing companies
  • Information minister boasts of lowest POL prices in the region

While the government is boasting of bringing the petroleum prices to the “lowest in the region”, the possibility of a fresh countrywide petrol crisis, following the recent price reduction, continues to haunt citizens as cases of petrol shortage were reported from some parts of the country.

While the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has claimed that there is no petrol crisis in the country as additional supplies are being made to petrol stations, conditions in some major cities reported otherwise.

An acute shortage of petrol was witnessed in various cities of the country after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced a significant cut in prices of petroleum products on Saturday, news agency INP reported.

Most of the petrol pumps in Lahore, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bhakkar and several cities of Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) remained closed excusing non-availability of stock while queues spread over miles were seen on PSO filling stations selling petrol, the report added.

Complaints of selling petrol on old prices were also received from the cities and rural areas which were out of sight of district administrations and price control committees.

Talking to media, people hailing from different cities said that reduction in prices of petroleum products had turned out a curse for them instead of becoming a reason of some relief. They lashed at government officials for not implementing the announcement of the prime minister. The people opined that whenever price of any commodity was slashed, it disappeared from the market and they had to suffer more than before.

Meanwhile, the Petroleum Ministry has made it clear that there is no petrol crisis in the country as additional supplies are being made to petrol stations.

A spokesman of the ministry said that supply and demand of petrol was being monitored on daily basis. He said 14,728 metric tonnes of oil was being supplied as against demand of 12,000 tonnes. He said reports that there was shortage of petrol at some fuel stations were baseless.

The spokesman assured that action would be taken against petrol pumps which remained closed on Sunday. He further said that the marketing companies had reserves of 90,000 tonnes of petrol while additional 32,000 tonnes was being off loaded at the Karachi Port.

The spokesman said that during February, 11 ships with 350,000 metric tonnes of oil would reach Pakistan.

In the wake of record-low reduction in oil prices, Parliamentary Secretary Petroleum in the National Assembly, Shahzadi Umerzadi Tiwana also urged the provincial governments to pass on the relief to the public.

In an interview, she said petroleum prices had reasonably been slashed for the first time in the history. She said the CNG sector would not be closed completely and be available for consumers as an alternate fuel.

In the meanwhile, addressing a news conference in Islamabad Sunday evening, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said the government has passed maximum benefit of reduction in oil prices in the international market on to the people. He said the petroleum prices are the lowest in the region.

The minister said the government is bearing a loss of Rs 40 billion by reducing the petroleum prices on account of revenue collection.

Regarding shortage of gas, he said all out efforts are underway to overcome the crisis and hoped it will be resolved for good during the current year.

The minister said the federal government has written to the province to reduce prices of essential commodities so that the people could benefit from the improved economy.

Moreover, he said despite terrorism, foreign investment in the country has increased. The government is providing the lucrative incentives as well as fool proof security to the investors.