CCI may reverse LPG deregulation, approve Rs 178b 10-year FPP today
ISLAMABAD: The Council of Common Interests (CCI) is expected to reverse deregulation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) business after almost 16 years and approve Rs178 billion Flood Protection Programme (FPP) for 10 years on Friday (today). Both these issues have attracted criticism from the provincial governments in recent weeks. This led the authorities to call within few weeks second meeting of the country's top inter-provincial forum that could not meet in 10 months despite constitutional requirements. A senior government official said the CCI led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was given a presentation on LPG Policy 2016 in its Feb 29 meeting but could not be approved due to opposition from the provinces and poor consultation from other stakeholders.
Also, the CCI had directed the four chief ministers and the water and power minister to sit together separately to firm up the 10-year FPP. A follow-up meeting presided over by Power Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif finalised the 10-year plan with total estimated expenditure of Rs177.66bn but the provinces refused to share financing.
The government had deregulated the LPG business under a decision of the federal cabinet in June 2000. The regulatory functions of the LPG production and distribution rules were subsequently transferred to Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) in March 2013. The regulatory role was, nevertheless, limited only to the extent of ascertaining ' reasonability' of LPG price without any powers to penalise overcharging.
The LPG policy mechanism was thrice changed in 2006, 2011 and 2013, but the petroleum ministry kept itself absolved from any responsibility as product prices skyrocketed in winters as Ogra's powers remained confined to issuing advisories to the provincial governments to intervene without positive outcome to consumers.