In the latest development, the government has decided to expand the inquiry against the Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) on account of petroleum products shortage in June 2020.
As per media reports, this shall be a third inquiry by the government pertaining to the recent fuel shortage, where various OMCs restrained the petroleum product supplies to the retail outlets, causing the entire weight of the market to fall on Pakistan State Oil’s (PSO) shoulders.
Reportedly, the government was also taken by surprise upon seeing a 90% rise in demand for petrol in June, despite consumers not getting any fuel to begin with. The government exposed the malpractices of the petroleum sector, reporting that 1500 petrol stations across Pakistan have been operating illegally and numerous OMCs have been hoarding Petroleum products to charge unjustly from the public.
As a revelation tactic, the government increased the prices of the petroleum products unannounced on June 26, and saw a sudden restoration of petroleum product demand and supply across the country. Following that revelation, the government constituted a committee to look into the matter.
Resultantly, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) imposed a penalty of Rs. 55 million on several OMCs that were found responsible for the shortage of petroleum products across the country, including Shell, Total Parco, Puma Energy, GO, Hascol, Attock, Byco, Askar and BE Energy.
Soon After, Prime Minister Imran Khan formed another four-person committee to further investigate the fuel shortage in the country. The committee comprises Shahzad Qasim, Special Assistant to the PM who is also the leader of the committee, former OGRA member Rashid Farooq, Petroleum Institute of Pakistan CEO Asim Murtaza and former PSO executive Naazir Abbas Zaidi.
Reportedly, the said committee is actively probing the petroleum products’ crisis in the country. In the meantime, the Cabinet Division has moved a summary to the cabinet for a commission to be formed in the interest of attending to this matter and also working on a mitigation strategy to avoid the problem.