OMCs: petrol crisis

June 18, 2020

Email

PAKISTAN has been facing an acute petroleum crisis, forcing people to run from pillar to post to obtain regular or hi-octane petrol. This is happening at a time when world oil prices have hit rock bottom and our government has also reduced oil prices.

Thankfully, the prime minister and the government have taken notice of this and some inquiry has been initiated to probe into the issue. A committee is said to have been formed which, it is claimed, will be independent. It will, apparently, inquire into the causes that led to the shortage of petroleum products, although its findings will be doubtful.

In my opinion, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), which is the regulating body of the petroleum industry, should also play its due role and make investigations into the requirement of all oil marketing companies (OMCs) to maintain reasonable stocks of petrol.

Ogra must find out that if oil marketing companies were not maintaining the required petrol stocks, how were they meeting the needs of their own petrol pumps?

It is my understanding that every country maintains reasonable stocks of petrol to avert such crisis situations. Why is it then that the people of Pakistan are suffering so badly?

Syed Ovais Akhtar
Karachi

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THE unexpected petrol shortage we have been facing has surprised the people. Owing to the lockdown in the last few months, there was a significant reduction in travel in almost all modes of transportation, which led to a drastic reduction in petrol consumption.

But despite this, we now have a petrol shortage, which comes as a surprise. This is because of the incompetence of the government. This is not the first time in Pakistan that there has been a shortage of petrol. Even under the previous government, people had to deal with petrol shortages and wait for hours in the queue.

Petrol pump owners say that, despite repeated requests to petrol supply companies for several days, there is still petrol shortage. The problem is that some petroleum companies did not buy petrol at lower prices, and now that prices have been reduced, they want to compensate for their losses by creating artificial shortages in the market.

The question is: has the government any way out of this problem? What were the authorities concerned doing when these private petroleum companies were storing and supplying petrol instead of buying it?

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s move is commendable regarding the petrol shortage. If the government really wants to get the country out of this crisis, it will have to strictly monitor the policies of the petroleum companies. Action must be taken against those responsible for this crisis.

I hope the government will overcome this crisis soon.

Zaighum Pasha
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2020