Gone are the days when petrol prices were reviewed in the Federal Budget and people could live with the feeling that they would not be bothered until the announcement of the next budget. It is a universal fact that such frequent fluctuations as we are witnessing these days serve as a catalyst for inflationary spiral; transport fares go up while the essential commodities get further out of poor man’s reach. We happen to live in a country where petroleum prices have been raised 11 times between July 22, 2012 and Jan 22, 2013. Now once again, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has been authorised to review and readjust petroleum prices on a fortnightly basis. On Monday, OGRA came out with yet another petrol-bomb by raising the price by Rs 1.65,  HOBC by 2.25 and kerosene oil by Rs 1.10 per liter. It has also become a practice that news of expected price hikes is leaked a day or two in advance to allow the dealers to make a quick buck. It has been seen that sometimes they suspend the sale altogether as a ruse to fleece the anxious consumers.

At the end of the day, the power shortfall, growing unemployment and poverty have all coalesced to destroy the industrial sector and in turn affect the petroleum industry. OGRA must formulate a strategy to avert these weekly shocks and also to dispel the impression that the government and the oil mafia are profiteering from price adjustments.