ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Raja Pervez Asharf and Deputy Prime Minister Pervez Elahi have turned down, in unison, Petroleum Ministry’s proposal to put independent Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) under its purview, reliable sources told TheNation on Tuesday.
The sources in PM Secretariat told this scribe that Advisor to the PM on Petroleum & Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain and Secretary Petroleum Dr Waqar Masood Khan last week met with the Premier and sought his approval to three proposals of the ministry. The Deputy PM was also present during the meeting, the sources added.
The ministry’s three proposals included dissolution of Ogra, putting the regulator under the ministry’s purview, and last but not the least the proposal of amending the Ogra Ordinance in order to curtail its power, the sources said. However, the Prime Minister and the Deputy PM turned down the proposal altogether.
According to the sources, the Prime Minister informed the Advisor and Secretary Petroleum that regulatory bodies including Ogra were set up by the understandings between the Government of Pakistan (GoP) and the International Financial Institutes (IFIs). PM also reminded them that these bodies were the outcome of various development assistance agreements between the GoP and IFIs with the World Bank on top of them.
It was also learnt that high command of ruling coalition-leading PPP was also not in favour of the petroleum ministry proposal.
The well-placed party sources told TheNation that it was not the right time to consider such proposals as the next general election was approaching fast. The party sources further said moving with such ambitious and half-baked proposals at this point of time would invite a lot of criticism from the opposition. This kind of naive initiative could also lead to some kind of schism within the federal cabinet, the sources maintained.
Sources in Finance Ministry also told that Law Minister and Finance Minister both did not entertain the wishes of oil ministry to put Ogra under the ministry’s purview in yesterday’s session of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet by saying that the issue under discussion was the pricing of CNG rather than the independence of Ogra.