Petrol stations run out of fuel owing to strike call

  • Oil tankers contractors call off strike after govt’s interruption

Most of the petrol filling stations except the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) on Tuesday ran short owing to the strike called by the Oil Tankers Contractors Association (OTCA) over implementation of 16 per cent services sales tax issue.

Fuel shortage and long queues at petrol stations were witnessed in Karachi afternoon as almost all fuel supplying companies except PSO pumps dried because of the strike initiated on the late Monday night. The owners of petrol pumps shut down their stations due to non-supply of petrol and diesel.

Panic spread in the metropolis as motorists flocked the fuel stations in search of the scarce petrol and diesel. Most of the petrol pumps had discontinued selling fuel. Those still selling petrol and diesel had large queues of cars and motorcycles as well as people trying to obtain fuel in bottles.

Earlier, All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Association chairperson Akram Durrani had said that the strike would continue until the government revisits the 16 per cent sales tax on services. Later, he said they have called off the strike following the government’s assurance over reconsidering its decision and resolving the issue in Islamabad.

He said that they were now going to get their tankers loaded to resume the supply of petrol and diesel to fuel stations. The Pakistan State Oil (PSO), the largest oil marketing company with a market share of over 50 per cent, had earlier announced in a statement that the company was striving hard to ensure that the supply of the petroleum products continues across the country without any hitches.

Though the strike is not against PSO and the company has no stake in the matter, PSO’s supply chain is vigilant of the situation, the statement added. PSO reiterated its commitment to maintaining uninterrupted fuel supply to meet the country’s fuel and energy needs under all circumstances.

Pakistan is a net importer of oil. It meets 25per cent of its needs through local resources, while the rest of the 75 per cent requirement is met through imports. The quantity of petrol and diesel in the country is between 500,000 and 900,000 tonnes, enough to cater to the fuel needs here for 15 to 22 days.

After the 18th Amendment, sales tax on services has become a provincial subject and as transportation is a service hence is liable to pay sales tax. As simple as the matter sounds, it has left the oil tanker authorities in hanging in the air over the payment of taxes. For instance, if an oil tanker driver carries supplies from Sindh to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – which provincial government should get the taxes?