— File photo.
ISLAMABAD: Former managing director of Pakistan State Oil Naeem Yahya Mir has claimed that an influential oil mafia hit by his fuel indigenisation campaign was behind his removal despite record profits and increased product sales achieved by him in a short period.
Talking to Dawn, Mr Mir who had been removed from the post on Monday alleged that the same cartel was behind a sinister campaign against his integrity and said he would contest any investigation because he had not claimed any personal benefit from the company he served for almost 30 months.
“I have no regret over what I did at PSO but I have learnt a lesson not to work for any public sector organisation in Pakistan in future,” he said, adding that furnace oil being used in the country was of very poor quality because a group of importers cartelised the import by restricting quality bidders from participating through specifications which were not available in the international oil market. They were supplying poor quality fuel oil at very expensive rate — a practice he claimed to have been put to an end. To replace this, he said, he had entered into an agreement with Bakri Oil for a blending facility to provide one million tons of better quality furnace oil against payments in the local currency instead of imports in foreign exchange involving about $5 billion in five years. “This would have saved about $1bn.”
Mr Mir alleged that a group of influential people had used the Transparency International Pakistan to criticise the deal. The National Accountability Bureau investigated the deal but found nothing wrong with it and asked him to invite bids and, if no other party came forward, award the contract to Bakri Oil.
He said no party had participated in the bid for local blending of furnace oil. Later Bakri Oil declined to go ahead with the project, saying its reputation had been tarnished and it would never do business in Pakistan.
“I was able to break a cartel of four companies and saved $30 per ton of petrol,” he said, adding that the companies had monopolised the bidding process for a product which was not available in the international market but was particularly designed for Pakistan through blending to evade fair competition.