ISLAMABAD - Despite strong opposition by Ogra and Oil Directorate of Petroleum Ministry and Finance Ministry, Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet has now approved much controversial fortnightly oil pricing instead of thirty days and seven years tax holiday to BYCO refinery.

However, when contacted with energy experts, they have argued that though the economy of financially ravaged people of Pakistan and the fragile financial health of country’s economy dot not permit to put extra burden on them yet the influential owners of refineries persuaded the high ups at Petroleum Ministry to ensure more profits for them. They have said that over burdened masses will now have to bear the brunt as fortnightly oil pricing and seven years tax holiday to BYCO refinery will produce bad impact to the economy of poor masses and weak financial position of country’s economy. Inflicting further insult to the injuries of already exhausted masses, the ECC in a bid to appease influential refineries owners has approved fortnightly oil pricing and tax holiday to a blue eyed refinery a move that aims at gobbling masses of their hard earned billions of rupees, they opined.

Sources privy to development have informed that ECC has given its nod to summaries forwarded by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MoP&NR) that would resultantly add salt to the miseries of over burdened consumers already bearing the brunt of sky high prices of POL products in the country. They also disclosed that OGRA, Directorate General of Oil (DG Oil) of Petroleum Ministry and even Finance Ministry strongly opposed ministry’s proposals.

It is also learnt that Ogra along with Finance Ministry strongly opposed determination of fortnightly pricing of POL products by saying that this act would cause increase in hoarding of POL products in the country and would also be cause to benefit influential owners of refinery at the cost of over burdened consumers.

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, 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 said, adding high ups at Petroleum Ministry were found hell bent to ensure benefits for the influential owners of refineries.

Similarly, bureaucratic yet negligent baboos in the ministry found desperate to benefit blue eyed owner of BYCO refinery though Ogra and DG Oil had opposed tax holiday on the ground that this private sector entity had earlier gotten tax exemption for same period on the condition to spend this hefty amount worth in billion of rupees for its own development and to increase the production of BYCO to meet the growing demands of the country. However, it is testimony of the fact that oldest unit of BYCO had never produced more than twenty two per cent percent of its production throughout this specified span of time. DG Oil and Ogra had pointed out absence of audit of refinery from a long time and asked for its audit prior any further tax holiday.  Both were of the opinion that BYCO refinery had saved multi billion worthy amount due to tax holiday and did not spend reasonable amount to increase its own production and even it had not spent money on the development of its own refinery.  “The ECC has also approved the summary for the extension of date of completion of BYCO Oil Pakistan limited to avail 7.6 years tax holiday. It may be recalled that BYCO Petroleum Pakistan was given tax holiday for 7.6 years, however the refinery could not be commissioned by the stipulated time. The Ministry of Petroleum and National Recourses recommended that the company might be granted extension of the facility up to end of 2012, which was approved after much deliberation”, finance ministry said in its statement.