Petroleum dealers on Saturday warned the government of a countrywide strike if the latter tried to railroad the proposed oil sector deregulation plan without bringing them and other stakeholders on board, The News has learnt.
“We will reject the decision, if taken behind our back,” said Abdul Sami Khan, Chairman Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA), at a ceremony.
“It is seriously ironic that OGRA (Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority) has so far not consulted the dealers regarding the proposed deregulation of prices of petroleum products.”
He said the dealers would stop the sales of petroleum products if OGRA bypassed them. “We are the main stakeholder but we are being ignored by the OGRA,” Khan said.
He also urged the government to take urgent steps to stop the smuggling of oil and its other products from Iran. “The smuggling does not add to the revenues of the government but ruins the petroleum dealers’ businesses.”
Former premier Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi in his address said the government was all set to deregulate the prices of petroleum products.
“When the prices increase in the international market the government has to jack up the domestic ones and the masses have to bear the burden.”
Abbasi added that he was against the mechanism of petroleum price determination, while the government had no link with it.
Saying petroleum dealers should earn rightful profits from their businesses, he, however, deplored that some dealers were allegedly involved in selling under-measured and adulterated fueles.
“If dealers are given rightful profit then they would avoid indulging in any illegal practice,” Abbasi said adding, “This government has now approved an adequate commission for the dealers and it is hoped that they would earn rightful earnings from their businesses”.
Raja Waseem Kianai, President of PPDA Islamabad District, said OGRA should advise provincial chief secretaries to immediately take strict action against illegal petrol pumps and oil agencies, while district administration should ensure the closure of these in their respective jurisdiction.
Chaudhry Faisal, PPDA General Secretary, demanded of the government to grant petrol pumps the status of industry.
PPDA office bearers from Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu, and Kashmir were present on the occasion.