|Petroleum prices: Top officials given until Sept 27 to withdraw hike|
19 September 2012
A parliamentary panel warned on Tuesday of moving a privilege motion against finance and petroleum secretaries if oil prices were not reverted to the July 31 position.
If our recommendation to revert oil prices to the July 31 position is not implemented by September 27, we will submit privilege motions in parliament against finance and petroleum secretaries, said members of the Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources.
At its meeting on Tuesday, the panel resented the recent increase in petroleum prices, saying it was leading to inflationary burden and creating unrest and uncertainty among people.
It further said that the price hike meant the petroleum ministry had breached the privilege of the parliamentary panel.
Committee member Barjees Tahir said no one was taking into account the committee’s recommendations, and increases in oil prices were becoming a permanent feature.
Another member, Haider Ali Shah, said fuel prices in the international market were increased by $1 per barrel, while in Pakistan the government increased the prices by Re1 per litre and earned billion of rupees of profit through it.
He added that the government should revert to the monthly revision of oil prices, and taxes should be cut to provide relief to the consumers.
Senior legislator Sheikh Aftab said the committee should raise the issue with the federal cabinet.
Jamshed Dasti, another member of the committee, alleged that the petroleum ministry was involved in creating an artificial shortage of oil. “I may be hanged to death from the gate of the Parliament House if proved wrong,” he said.
“One meeting of the parliamentary panel costs Rs5 million; therefore, it is important that the committee’s recommendations be taken into account,” he added.
The committee decided to meet again on September 27 and directed the petroleum secretary to brief the committee on the implementation of its recommendations regarding petroleum prices.
Petroleum Secretary Dr Waqar Masood proposed formation of a subcommittee comprising technical experts to resolve the issue of oil price determination.
He said price determination should be according to changes in the international market.
“Petroleum levy and other taxes, including GST, have been imposed by parliament and following the directions of parliamentarians, the ECC approved this price determination formula,” the secretary added.
He added that oil marketing companies (OMCs) have been directed to ensure the supply of fuel to all petrol stations.
Parco refuses to brief committee
Meanwhile, Masood said that the Pak Arab Refinery Limited (PARCO) was not ready to brief the committee on its plant. The refinery was jointly owned by the governments of Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). “The PARCO board of directors has the power to run the affairs of the refinery,” he added.
The legislative body, however, noted the absence of PARCO’s managing director and directed him to attend next meeting of the committee.
Later, the committee handed over the agenda regarding PARCO’s briefing to a subcommittee working under Jamshed Dasti.
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