CCI may re­verse LPG dereg­u­la­tion, ap­prove Rs 178b 10-year FPP today

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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