ISLAMABAD: Amid silence of the government, the LPG marketing companies continue to cause millions of rupees daily losses to consumers by selling overpriced liquid petroleum gas.
The 11.8 kg domestic cylinder is being sold at Rs 2000 against its actual OGRA notified cost of Rs 1,613.43, for the month of September 2018.
Taking advantage of absence of government, during last some weeks, the gas marketing companies in connivance with regulator not only kept the official prices increasing but also looted public by supplying gas at black rates and the regulator remained indifferent.
According to official data, the per month peak consumption of LPG crosses 101371 metric tonnes while the daily consumption is between 3000-3200 tonnes.
Te prices of poor man’s fuel did not jump overnight but it was gradual increase. OGRA kept on increasing prices during recent past, but it jumped sky high during caretaker government and the present initial days of incumbent government, as rate of a domestic cylinder, sold for Rs 1282 during the month of April this year, crossed benchmark of Rs 1600- the highest LPG price in the history of the country.
It is worth mentioning that the country produces major chunk of gas locally while only a small quantity is imported to meet demand and supply.
In June this year, companies namely PPL, OGDCL, PARCO, MOL, POL, OPL, PRL, UEPL, ARL, JJVL, NRL, and BYCO produced 60158 metric tonnes of LPG.
The total import for the month was merely 12668 metric tonnes.
To many the notified price is itself very high and unjust for locally produced gas which was being sold at half rate till last year and has been priced Rs 910.91 including excise duty.
A whopping Rs 413 distribution margin, petroleum levy of Rs 55 and 17 percent excise duty adds to make the poor man’s fuel out of the reach of common man.
Former executive director Shahid Nuaman Afzal termed abuse of power, corruption, incompetence and nepotism behind the unchecked increase in the prices of LPG.
The present chairperson Uzma Adil Khan has no expertise and no background to run a regulatory body and she was appointed in sheer violation of all terms and regulations of the authority, Afzal said.
Afzal said she got real boom when then MD SNGPL refused to sign the LNG contract and Uzma Adil Khan volunteered. She was made SNGPL chief for some weeks, and she immediately signed the controversial deal.
He said she was given chairpersonship in reward of signing that deal, and she brought her all cronies into the authority at hefty salaries, another reason of poor performance.
Executive Director OGRA Imran Ghaznavi, when contacted, strongly denied charges. When asked how he sees the failure of OGRA in implementing its prices he blamed shortage of enforcement staff.
(This news/article originally appeared in DAWN on September 4th, 2018)