ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court, during a hearing of case pertaining to gas and petroleum prices, on Wednesday said it will pass an order on Thursday (today) about new arrangements for fixing of petroleum prices.
During a prolonged hearing over the increase in the price of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Petroleum Secretary Dr Waqar Masood and Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) Chairman Saeed Ahmed Khan failed to satisfy the Supreme Court on the linkage between the increases in prices of CNG with the petroleum products on a weekly basis. A two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja directed the OGRA chairman to furnish the formula that is being used to determine gas prices.
The court also issued notices to the managing directors of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited, directing them to appear before the bench today (Thursday). The government officials admitted before the bench that gas, a domestic product, has nothing to do with petroleum products. “Don’t insist on theoretic arguments, tell us why the common people are being crushed in the name of different charges and fluctuation in the prices of these products,” the bench told the petroleum secretary and OGRA chairman.
The chief justice also asked why was the burden always passed on to the consumers. The bench made it clear that it will pass an order, most probably today (Thursday), about new arrangement for fixation of petroleum prices. It also observed that instead of acting as a regulatory authority, OGRA has become a redundant body. “Unfortunately, the government is now hands and gloves with the oil marketing companies (OMC),” Justice Jawwad S Khawaja observed.
The CJP observed that OGRA is a regulatory body and should not be influenced by either the government or the court in the discharge of its functions. He further observed that there should be a mechanism under which OGRA should implement its policies as a regulator and should protect the interests of the consumers. The petroleum secretary told the court that they had decided to review the decision about fixing the oil prices on weekly basis as a parliamentary resolution had also been passed in this regard – DailyTimes