ISLAMABAD: Terming the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) a white elephant, a parliamentary panel on Thursday recommended bringing it under control of the petroleum ministry.
National Assembly’s Standing Assembly on Petroleum and Natural Resources also criticised the cabinet secretary for not attending the committee meetings. Some members proposed to issue warrants to the cabinet secretary for its attitude.
Member Committee Rana Afzaal Hussain said that the committee had sent over 50 recommendations but no action had been taken by the government so far. “As OGRA has become a white elephant, it should be brought under the control of the ministry of petroleum and natural resources,” he added.
MNA Barjees Tahir said that OGRA had failed to deliver. Tahir suggested that it should either be dissolved, given status of a separate ministry or brought under the control of the ministry.
Another committee member Jamshed Dasti alleged that huge volume of oil was being transported by some companies to Afghanistan illegaly. Parliamentary panel directed Ogra to provide details on companies involved in its transportation and volume of oil being supplied to Afghanistan.
He alleged Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh for plundering money from oil consumers and called him an IMF tout. “Finance minister is following the agenda of foreign forces and failed to form policies for the welfare of the people, Dasti alleged.
“Provinces should reduce their share of taxes if they want to provide relief to the consumers,” Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain said.
He also maintained that provinces were getting more share than the federal government from collection of General Sales Tax (GST) on petroleum products and should reduce their share to reduce oil prices.
NA body also expressed concerns over the irregular hiring and terminations in Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL). Rana Afzaal said that SNGPL Managing Director Arif Hameed was terminating jobs of innocent people who have been serving in the organisation for years and was instead hiring blue-eyed people.
Ogra Chairman Saeed Khan said that transparency would be ensured in the body and its structure would be improved. Ogra Chairman informed the committee that degrees of 120 executive officers were sent to the HEC and 63 of them had been verified. He said that capacity building of the body was required and gradually its status would be improved. He said that Ogra was answerable to the ministry of petroleum.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2012.
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