KARACHI: The energy ministry has directed all Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to stop imports of petrol in light of collapsing demand following lockdowns around the country.
“As OMCs have sufficient inventory of the product, therefore, all OMCs are requested to cancel their planned imports (April 2020 onwards) and increase their off take from refineries so that operations of refineries are maintained at an adequate level,” reads a directive issued by the Director General Oil to the Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC) on Wednsday.
“Further, all OMCs are advised to finalise/update their commercial agreements with the local refineries for required product sourcing,” the directive adds. It also directs the refineries “to cancel their crude imports”.
On the same day the DG Oil issued a separate directive to declare petroleum products and related operations as “essential services”.
“Accordingly, movement of all refineries and oil marketing companies operating in the country, their subcontractors, personnel, equipment and vehicles are essential to keep the operation up and running.”
The directive included Parco, ARL, NRL, Byco, PSO, Shell, Total Parco, Attock Petroleum, Hascol, Be Energy, Gas and Oil in the ambit of “essential services” whose supply chain must continue uninterrupted.
The Commerce Division has allowed commercial import of chemicals required for health and safety requirements.
Two notifications were issued on Thursday to amend the appendix B of the import policy order of 2016.
As per SRO257 the commercial import of acetone, anthranilic acid, ethyl ether, hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid has been allowed.
Through SRO258 the condition of pasting stickers on imported edible items has been removed until May 1, 2020. However, the clearance will be subject to Halal certification of any national certifying agency.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2020