All Pakistan Oil Tanker Contractors Association on Tuesday rejected the proposed deregulation of petroleum product prices, calling on the government to consult with stakeholders about the price mechanism.
The association put forth its demand at a press conference, where it announced that they would go on a countrywide strike if the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) did not take their input before arriving at a final decision.
An office-bearer of the association, Nouman Ali Butt, said that the oil tanker contractors had opposed the proposed deregulation of petroleum product prices and declared that they would go on a nationwide strike in a couple of weeks if the regulator did not consult them.
He revealed that the oil tankers were charging 78 paisa per litre on short distances and more on long distances under the Inland Freight Equalisation Margin (IFEM) fixed by Ogra.
“Deregulation will lead to the disbanding of Ogra and no regulation will prevail that could shield the contractors’ commission payable by oil marketing companies (OMCs),” he voiced fear.
Butt pointed out that the government was at advanced stage of deregulating prices of petroleum products because it had to jack up rates when the international crude market rose. “As a result, people will have to bear the burden of price hike,” he said.
“It is a political decision to save the federal government from scathing criticism that it faces when petroleum product prices are raised.”
Butt asked the government to take all stakeholders into confidence. “Around 18,000 oil tankers and families are associated with this business, therefore, its deregulation without protecting their margins and interests will destroy their livelihood.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2022.