ISLAMABAD - The height of mal-governance and lack of coordination among various organs of the government department can be judged by the fact that decision of fortnight review of oil prices was first taken at the highest forum of ECC and later to, astonishment of many, a sub-committee, constituted under the head of Minister for Water and Power, to look into nitty-gritty of the decision.
It is now crystal clear from the Cabinet Division’s recent release that is contrary to the earlier press release issued by the finance ministry sent to media for public information pertaining decision of the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet on reviewing pricing of POL products fortnightly against the previous practice of doing so after a month.
Similarly, hard work of reviewing and consulting all stakeholders about the pros and cons of the highly public interest matter by the finance ministry, was expected to do earlier prior to the decision found ostensibly missing. Resultantly, the ‘ignorance’ of the ECC would now irk the financially ravaged masses as in accordance with sources; the Cabinet Division has now issued a written decision of Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet that has disclosed to all that prices of Petroleum Oil and Lubricants (POL) products will not be determined fortnightly.
“According to the decision of the ECC issued by the Cabinet Division, a sub committee headed by Water and Power Minister has been formed comprising Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Nadeem ul Haq as its members to review summary of specifying prices of POL products fortnightly” sources well aware of the development informed, adding, that this sub committee will present its report in the upcoming session of the ECC and final decision will be given by the ECC in the light of report to be presented by this sub-committee.
It is testimony of the fact that ECC of the cabinet headed by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on 6th April granted its nod over the petroleum ministry’s request to fix the fuel prices after each fifteen days - against the previous practice of doing so after a month. However, DG Oil of Petroleum Ministry, Finance Ministry, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), and Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar while strongly opposing Petroleum Ministry’s plea during the meeting were of the stand that fortnightly oil pricing will cause more hoarding in the country resultantly over burdened consumers already facing sky high prices of POL products will now have to bear two jerks than one jolt in a month.
Likewise, Ogra, DG Oil and Finance Ministry while opposing fortnightly oil pricing asked for long-term mechanism being followed in neighbouring country of India. The regulatory authority during the meeting, however, asserted that specification of the pricing of petroleum oil and lubricant products should be minimum right after three month while maximum it should be for six months only to end hoarding, over charging and black marketing of POL products.
“Fortnightly oil pricing in the country is after the demands of refineries only to multiply monetary benefits”, sources well aware of the matter earlier said, adding high ups at Petroleum Ministry were found hell bent to ensure benefits for the influential owners of refineries.