ISLAMABAD - Continuing with the corrupt bureaucratic manoeuvres on the pretext of ongoing severe financial crisis at PSO, the Ministry of Petroleum’s ill-conceived policies are likely to raise the furnace oil prices manifolds only at the cost of hapless consumers.

One can only yearn if the sleeping baboos at the Ministry who are always blindly ignorant to masses plight would ever bother to wake up. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MP&NR) has decided to change the procedure of furnace oil procurement. Resultantly, fuel oil would be made expensive by up to Rs1500/ton in the country and power consumers would bear its heavy brunt. The MP&NR, without getting the comments of stakeholders as per the regulations of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, is set to add to the miseries of hard pressed masses while changing the procedure of furnace oil procurement to meet the demands of power sector.

Well-placed sources aware of the development further informed that the MP&NR in its desperate move has so far merely circulated the summary to the ministries of Finance, Water and Power, Planning Division and Ogra and did not bother to get their comments/views on it before drafting it for the ECC in a bid to get its final approval, and that had further been confessed by the ministry in its drafted summary. They said previous practices as well as rules/regulations/policies make it mandatory to seek the views of stakeholders prior to tabling it to the ECC, adding that however, making blatant mockery and sheer violation of the rules and regulations of the highest economic forum of the country, the MP&NR, without getting the views of necessary stakeholders, had drafted this summary for the ECC. If the Finance Ministry did not oppose the summary of the MP&NR then the ECC approval on this summary is likely on 7th August, a sources predicted. “The summary has been circulated to the Ministries of Finance, Water and Power, Planning Division and Ogra. However, in view of the urgency of the matter, they may express their views during the meeting,” an MP&NR summary for the ECC exclusively available with TheNation said.

Sources have, however, further informed that the MP&NR had taken this decision due to the possible expiry of credit line coupled with usual delay and ostensible failure in payments to the fuel oil suppliers by state-owned oil giant PSO. With the enforcement of this decision, price of furnace oil would witness a raise up by Rs1500 per ton while electric power unit would get expensive by Rs0.60 paisas. They said power sector has become defaulter of PSO, as it has to pay heavy amount worth of Rs 232 billion to the PSO, adding that unfortunately around 2 billions of rupees with each passing day are adding to the default money of power sector in the country. They further told that if PSO fails to pay the payments in time then Finance Ministry is supposed to pay the outstanding amounts.

A copy of the summary drafted by MP&NR, bearing subject “Import of furnace oil by PSO under term contract for the final approval of the ECC”, also confirmed the info that the MP&NR had sought the ECC nod in a bid to ensure smooth supply of furnace oil to the power sector by PSO being sole supplier of Fuel Oil (FO).  An MP&NR summary said that before finalizing the bids/contract, PSO requires support from Government of Pakistan (GoP) to arrange additional LC lines from National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) required for the proposed term contract which shall be backed by the Finance Division guarantee. The total amount of exchange loss/gain incurred by PSO shall be included in the selling price charged to consumers and the commercial terms and conditions of the term contract would be settled by PSO as per applicable rules/regulations/policies etc.