ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday said that why the domestic consumers have to suffer due to gas losses.
A three-Judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, took up the issue of implementation of recommendations contained in justice retired Rana Bhagwandas' report, who had served as Judge of the apex Court.
During the course of hearing, the Supreme Court directed the secretary ministry of petroleum and natural resources to submit till October 24 relevant documents about natural gas consumers' price break up and LPG break up along with some acceptable formula within Pakistan, to justify the hike in petroleum and gas prices.
The bench in its order directed the concerned authorities to explain the linkage between prices of CNG and petroleum products, price ratio with components, decision of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) allowing the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and ministry of petroleum to raise prices on weekly basis.
During course of proceedings, the Chief Justice asked secretary ministry of petroleum Waqar Masood to explain as to why the prices of CNG were raised effecting the poor consumer as per Rana Bhagwandas' report it could be sold at Rs17 per kg.
The secretary said that Rana Bhagwandas' report was the best one and submitted an implementation report.
He said the report did not mention the CNG and dispelled the impression that the prices of CNG were raised without following any process.
He said the approval to raise prices were given by the ECC while the OGRA was the only downstream regulator which only implemented the guidelines provided by the government as highlighted in section 21 of the OGRA ordinance.
He said the CNG prices were linked with the petroleum products; though the CNG sector witnessed a phenomenal growth, but the resources were not expanded.
The Chief Justice brought his attention to the use of natural gas by domestic consumers and said that it was the poor consumer who had to suffer due to such situation.
The secretary contended that due to distribution among various sectors, the domestic consumers were getting the maximum subsidy of Rs46 billion.
The Chief Justice observed that they would have entered into agreement with certain companies for specific period and not on daily basis under which the prices were revised.
The secretary said that according to decision, the prices of CNG had to be kept 60 percent at parity with the petroleum products.
To bench's query, he replied that Pakistan was an ideal destination for Exploration and Production (EN&P) activity.
Chairman OGRA Saeed Ahmad Khan to bench's query replied that minimum price for the domestic consumer was between Rs175 and Rs180 per MMBT including distribution and expenditure costs.
The secretary petroleum said that they had to import 85 percent petroleum products while the fluctuations in prices of CNG on weekly basis had provided relief to the public.
Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja observed that after the 18th Amendment, the issue to determine prices did not vest with the ECC rather it had become an issue to be raised at Council of Common Interest (CCI).
The Chief Justice asked the secretary to explain on next date of hearing also as to how many oil refineries they had developed with levy of petroleum development levy.
Further hearing was adjourned till October 24. (APP)