PAC recommends reduction in petroleum prices

Chief says NAB officials will have to provide asset details

Our Correspondent July 07, 2022
Oil prices have been increasing in the international market since September 2020, resulting in substantial increase in consumer prices of petroleum products in the country. PHOTO: FILE


In view of reducing global oil prices, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recommended a reduction in the prices of petroleum products to provide relief to the people.

Presiding over the committee’s meeting, PAC Chairman Noor Alam Khan said that the price of petrol is decreasing in the global market.

“When the price is low in the world market, why it is not low in our country?” he asked. “When the price is higher in the world market, it goes up but does not go down.”

The chairman said that oil prices in the world have come down twice while the government has increased the prices instead of reducing them.

He requested the Ministry of Finance, Petroleum Division and the government to provide relief to the people by reducing the prices of petroleum products.

Committee member Sheikh Rohail said that global oil prices have come down by Rs50 per liter, but the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is calling on the government to increase the sales tax.

Also, during the meeting, the PAC remarked that NAB officials will have to give details of their assets. Chairman Khan said that a department had said that it was Eid on Thursday so they could not come, while Eid is actually on July 10.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed asked whether this was about NAB, to which Khan said that it was NAB. He directed the NAB officer to inform the anti-graft body’s chairman to come to the committee, remarking that its officers will have to provide details of their assets.

Expressing anger over the absence of heads of various institutions, the committee members said that no such tradition should be established that someone other than the head of an institution should come. The committee expressed anger over the absence of the special secretary of the Ministry of Finance.

The additional secretary finance informed the meeting that the special secretary was in the meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. At this, the PAC chief said that “you are doing with the committee what you have done with the economy and the people”.

The chairman also expressed frustration over the absence of the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), to which the deputy governor said that he was in Karachi due to the monetary policy meeting. The chairman said that they would not allow anyone except the head, therefore, the chief must come.

Khan said that the director general of the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) should also be called on Thursday and the expenses of the meeting should be deducted from the salary of special secretary finance and SBP governor.

Committee member Nisar Ahmed Cheema said that the principle should be that the head of the institution who does not come to the committee should have the expenses of the meeting deducted from his salary.

The chairman inquired the SBP deputy governor about his salary, to which he replied that his salary was Rs2.5 million. When asked about the car, he said, "I have a Honda Civic."

The committee sought details of the salaries and benefits of the SBP governor and the Board of Directors.

Cheema said that the salary of the SBP deputy governor is equal to 15 MNEs.

The committee then adjourned the meeting without taking action on the agenda.


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