ISLAMABAD - AHMAD AHMADANI- A new hike in POL prices is on the cards to further burden the masses as the federal cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), which is scheduled to meet today (Friday), is likely to approve the increase in commission margin on petroleum products.
Sources aware of the matter told TheNation that the ECC is likely to take up the summary of Petroleum Ministry seeking increase in the margin of oil dealers and oil marketing companies. They also said the committee scheduled to be held under the chair of newly appointed Finance Minister Senator Saleem H Mandviwalla is likely to give approval to jack up the prices of petrol and diesel by up to Rs 0.65/litre, sources added.
“If ECC gives its approval to the proposed raise then the over burdened consumers of petroleum products would bear the brunt of increase in the margin of dealers and marketing companies because the prices of petrol and diesel would witness a raise by Rs 0.65/litre in the country, a senior official of Petroleum Ministry said, adding that Adviser Dr Asim Hussain has also given his consent to increase the margin as the dealers and the companies pleaded to the ministry that their cost of doing business had increased manifold and it was impossible for them to run their businesses on the existing volume of margins and commissions.
Available summary dispatched to the ECC in haste by the MPNR says,” The OMCs (Shell, Chevron, Total PARCO) were not comfortable with the existing margin on petroleum products and are planning to disinvest in Pakistan.” Following the demands of oil dealers and marketing companies involved in the business of fuel oil, the ministry has already given its nod to further increase the margin. Earlier the ministry approved to raise the dealers margin by Rs0.41/litre on petrol while margin of OMCs on petrol by Rs0.25/litre and Rs0.10/litre on diesel. At present, petroleum dealers are getting Rs2.37/litre margin over the sale of petrol and Rs2.20/litre in high-speed diesel (HSD) while the margin of oil marketing companies on petrol stands at Rs1.98/litre and on diesel it is Rs1.76/litre.

Sources in independent Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) told that the OGRA is expected to oppose the move of the ministry, seeking raise in OMCs margin and dealers’ commission, as it is of the view that they are already getting reasonable margins and commissions.