ISLAMABAD: The government has sacked managing director of the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Company Limited (SNGPL) for issuing inflated gas bills to over three million consumers during winters.
According to a notification, the SNGPL board on Wednesday decided to remove the incumbent MD Amir Tufail and gave the additional charge of the SNGPL managing director to Mahmood Ahmad Zia.
This is the second SNGPL managing director to be removed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government within a period of few months.
During winters, gas bills of the domestic consumers had increased abnormally which compelled the consumers to protest in front of several SNGPL offices. In the wake of the protests, the government had constituted a four-member committee to probe inflated gas bills issue.
On February 27, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered to return the excessive amount charged from gas consumers. Earlier this month, the Petroleum Division had also asked the SNGPL to refund the extra amount charged from gas consumers and to take action against all those who were involved in sending the inflated bills by applying fraudulent gas pressure factor.
Following the directives, the SNGPL board on Wednesday removed acting MD Amir Tufail from his post.
An official of the Petroleum Division said both the division and the SNGPL were equally responsible for the inflated gas bills but the Petroleum Division moved only against the SNGPL and was trying to save skin of its own officials involved in the revision of gas slabs.
The petroleum minister last week told a parliamentary committee that there were two reasons behind the inflated bills – introduction of new slabs and extra pressure factor.
“Seven slabs were introduced and I accept the responsibility that a technical mistake was committed. We would revisit it and would bring new slabs,” he said, adding that pressure factor was also one of the reasons behind the inflated bills.
The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Orga) had allowed less than 2 per cent pressure factor. As many as 3.2 million consumers served by the SNGPL had been sent excessive bills. The SNGLP provides services to a total 6.4 million consumers.
The government has already announced to revisit the gas tariff slabs and refund Rs2.5 billion to the consumers in a few months.
It is the second SNGPL managing director removed from his post within a span of less than 70 days.
Earlier in December, the Petroleum Division, on the directive of the prime minister, had constituted fact-finding committee to probe into causes of a gas crisis in the country.
On January 9, the government removed the MDs of both SNGPL and the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) after the Petroleum Division secretary in his report said managements of both the SNGPL and the SSGC were responsible for the gas crisis.
The SNGPL’s board had then given the acting charge to Deputy Managing Director Finance Amir Tufail while the SSGC board had given the acting charge to Deputy Managing Director Imran Farookhi.
(This news/article originally appeared in The Express Tribune on March 21st, 2019)