Sunday, September 24, 2023

Government seeks to recover oil company profits during “artificial scarcity”

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered the federal government to take steps to recover illegal profits made by oil marketing companies (OMCs) by creating an artificial shortage of petroleum products in the country in the first half of 2020 has been.

Announcing the decision on several public interest petitions, Chief Justice Mohammad Qasim Khan ordered the government to set up a commission to collect illegal profits from the OMC.

The government has also been directed to take steps to review all OMCs and, if necessary, establish a commission to review existing rules and regulations. Given the facts and circumstances, the committee may recommend new laws or amendments to existing ones.

The ruling stated that the federal government should take legal action against those involved in the violation or responsible for creating the artificial shortage. He also urged the government to ensure that strategic reserves are maintained in all cases.

In this regard, the government established a commission on July 28, 2020, which will conduct a study involving all relevant parties.

The ruling instructs the federal government to ensure the immediate publication of the commission’s report on man-made shortages of petroleum products. The government is instructed to submit a compliance report to the additional clerks (courts) of the LHC within three months of the action being taken.

The presiding judge ordered the provincial secretary-general to take effective steps to empower district governments to play a better role in such situations.

He also asked the government to review the KPPU’s report on the dissolution of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) by a strong commission.

“However, if the commission concludes that Ogra should remain in place, the relevant rules should be revised immediately and new rules/regulations formulated, and the panel closely monitor the work of Ogra and other autonomous bodies,” added CJ.

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