The Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat on Wednesday held the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) responsible for the price hike of petroleum products.
The Ogra chairman told the committee that the prices of petroleum products were unlikely to come down till March next year.
The committee, which met under the chair of Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed, sought the details of the profit margins of oil marketing companies (OMCs) at the next meeting as well as their expenditure per litre on petrol and diesel.
The meeting discussed the proposal to provide alternative accommodation to the victims of the planned demolition of Nasla Tower in Karachi.
The committee decided to write a letter to the Supreme Court to review its decision of ordering the tower’s demolition.
The members of the committee noted that it was not the fault of the occupants of Nasla Tower, but that of the person who had given the no-objection certificate to build it.
Senator Sadia Abbasi also suggested writing a letter to President Arif Alvi on the matter.
The members expressed concern over the sharp rise in prices of petroleum products.
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The chairman questioned as to why the prices were increased despite the country having a stock of petroleum products.
“Stocks are being bought at low prices and then being sold at higher rates,” he maintained.
Senator Talha Mahmood asked why Ogra was silent on the matter when the whole nation was protesting.
The Ogra chairman replied that the government did not have stocks but they belonged to the OMCs.
The members asked him as to why Ogra did not take action against them.
The committee directed that the licences of the OMCs, which did not comply by the law, should be suspended.
The Ogra chairman told the committee that diesel cost Rs109 per litre at the port while the taxes on the fuel were Rs25 per litre.
Senator Talha Mahmood said that Ogra had become a facilitator of the “petroleum mafia”.
Senator Rukhsana Zabiri said the companies should reduce their margins on petroleum products when the consumption was high.
The committee rejected the Ogra chairman’s briefing and sought the details of companies’ margins and expenditure per litre on petrol and diesel at its next meeting.