The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has taken notice of the public concerns and complaints regarding the shortage of petroleum products in the country and initiated an inquiry to see whether such a shortage is the result of any anti-competitive activity.
The CCP is empowered under the Competition Act, 2010 to ensure that businesses do not engage in anti-competitive activities including abuse of dominant position or cartelization that may result in the shortage of supplies or an unreasonable increase in prices of products.
The sudden shortage of fuel across the country at a time when the Government has reduced prices followed by low demand due to COVID-19 pandemic arises suspicion that artificial shortage might have been created either by limiting supply at the Oil Marketing Companies, and/or hoarding at the distribution level.
Further, the possibility of abuse of dominant position by these companies in certain areas cannot be ruled out. The government’s decision to provide relief to the consumers by reducing the price of fuel appears to have irked the business undertakings from making the desired profits.
The CCP’s inquiry will determine the possibility of the existence of any anti-competitive practices causing the shortage of fuel in the country and the undertakings involved in it. The inquiry will further examine why the impact of the reduction in the prices of oil have not resulted in the corresponding reduction in the prices of the lubricants and other oil-based products, including the prices of hi-octane, which are primarily deregulated products.
CCP would also welcome the general public/consumers to provide input and information on such anti-competitive practices. Any such information can be shared through email [email protected]