Petrol crisis caused by increased demand, reduction in smuggled fuel from Iran, says Nadeem Babar

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Division Nadeem Babar while briefing the federal cabinet regarding the on-going petrol crisis said that the situation has exacerbated due to an inexplicable surge in demand of petroleum products and a drastic reduction in the supply of smuggled fuel from Iran.

Nadeem Babar also explained to the federal cabinet that the supply had been increased to 849,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) in June 2020, compared to supply of 650,000 MT in June 2019. However, the fuel shortage still persisted since the demand has increased by a whopping 51 per cent.

According to sources, the cabinet expressed dissatisfaction over Nadeem Babar’s explanation and demanded that those responsible for the fuel shortage should be taken to task.

According to sources, the federal cabinet has sought an explanation from the Petroleum Division regarding why the division has failed to address the shortage of petroleum products in the country despite earlier stating that the matter will be sorted out by June 16.

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Sources further revealed that the supply of petroleum products has been normalised in most of the areas except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) where around 400 unlicensed pumps and a large number of sub-agencies have been illegally hoarding petroleum products.

Earlier, on March 25, the government had issued instructions to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to curtail imports. However, the instructions were withdrawn on April 24, due to the closure of local refineries.

In order to control the crisis supply from Pakistan State Oil (PSO) was increased by 78 per cent and the authorities undertook raids on depots and stations of OMCs to catch petroleum product hoarding.

At the start of June 2020, the government announced a reduction of Rs7 in price of petrol, however, due to the unavailability of petroleum products in several locations consumers have been unable to benefit from the reduction at large.

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Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is a an investigative journalist at Profit. He can be reached at [email protected]
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