Pay up: Transporters warn of strike if dues not cleared

PSO owes one private contractor around Rs1.5 billion.

Our Correspondent June 29, 2014

KARACHI: The All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Association (APOTOA) has warned to besiege the offices of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) if it did not resolve its issues with the private contractors who owe a large amount in dues to its members.

The association's members protested outside the PSO office on Saturday, demanding the latter to immediately resolve the payment issues with the contractors.

"PSO holds back the contractors' payments which indirectly affect our drivers, conductors and owners who are dependent on these oil tankers," said Nawab Sher Afridi, the association's general secretary. The state-run oil marketing company, PSO, has held back around Rs1.5 billion of the Mengal Brother Transport (MBT) - a private contractor that supplies PSO fuel to the Nato forces in Afghanistan.

"The MBT has around 14,000 oil tankers supplying fuel in both Pakistan and for the Nato forces in Afghanistan," Afridi explained. He added that each oil tanker was the source of sustenance for three families who have been suffering since the payments were stopped around two years ago.

"The MBT says that PSO has not paid them the dues so they have no money to pay us."

PSO is also refusing to issue no-objection certificates to the oil tankers' owners so they can recruit their vehicles with other oil marketing companies and contractors who would pay them on time.

APOTOA spokesperson Israr Ahmed Shinwari told The Express Tribune that they will surround PSO offices for an indefinite period of time if their dues were not released. "PSO and MBT should come and sit with us to resolve the issues but if they don't, we will be forced to go on strike," said Shinwari.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2014.


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