LAHORE: The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) on Friday announced launching a drive against sale of loose and adulterated petroleum products (especially petrol and diesel) and pledged to end the unlawful practice across the country.

“Supplying adulterated or standard petrol and diesel in loose form through mobile units or vehicles to petrol stations or other premises or any equipment (generators) by unauthorised people is clearly an illegal activity. Ogra will soon take action by launching a campaign,” Ogra Chairperson Uzma Adil Khan said after representatives of various oil marketing companies (OMCs) and petroleum products dealers’ association brought the issue to her notice during an interactive session at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

Responding to a question raised by one of the participants, about government inaction over various concerns related to such products’ weight and measures, standardisation, calibration, commission and franchises’ fee between the OMCs and the dealers, the Ogra chief said the authority could only play a mediator’s role in resolving the matter by bringing the two parties to the negotiating table.

Addressing another query, Ms Khan said Ogra was not in a position to allow construction of oil depots and petrol pumps at the time when the requisite licence and other legal formalities were under process. “We understand this issue well and we will find a solution soon,” she said.

Ms Khan said the government had frozen the gas prices for domestic consumers under its socio-economic agenda. “It is the government’s jurisdiction to determine the sale prices of oil and gas. Ogra is just a regulatory body which ensures implementation of the policies evolved by the government and is playing a bridge between licensees and the government,” she explained.

The petroleum prices were being settled through a calculation methodology. After calculating the notified taxes, the government issued the petroleum prices while the gas prices were prescribed after hearing, she added.

Answering a question, Ms Khan said the advanced tax on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) import was a Federal Board of Revenue-related issue and should be taken to the authorities concerned. The reservations of OMCs over 2016 rules would be taken up with the government. “No penal action would be taken till amendment in rules,” she said.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI senior vice president Amjad Ali Jawa said at the start of the current financial year, the government announced not increasing the gas prices but it was learned that Ogra recommended increase.

He said any hike in gas prices would hit the industry hard and, therefore, the idea should be dropped, adding that 5.5 per cent advance tax was imposed on the import of LPG that would cause shortage of the fuel in the coming winters.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2017

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