SC orders audit of PSO’s import, bid processes

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has ordered the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) to arrange an independent audit of the Pakistan State Oil’s bidding, importing and pricing of oil mechanism.

Hearing suo motu case regarding exorbitant taxes on petroleum products on Sunday, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar directed Khalid Jawed to get the PSO’s bidding and import process verified by independent chartered accountants.

PSO Managing Director Sheikh Imranul Haq informed the court that only 15% of the country’s oil requirement was being met locally while 85% of the share was being imported by 22 companies.

Haq said PSO imports oil through bidding in the international market and shares the import price with the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) at the end of the month, where some levies and taxes are added up and the final price is notified by the Ogra. “PSO has no role after import,” the AGP added.

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“I fear somebody is making commission somewhere in this process. What the managing director is telling us, we are not taking it as Gospel’s truth. We want to know whether this is accurate and honest import price,” the chief justice remarked and directed the AGP to look into the matter and get expert opinion on it.

The court also observed that the taxes the government and the FBR have levied on oil should be reasonable. “Are cess, duties and taxes imposed by the government on oil justified? The government cannot be enriched on this account,” remarked the chief justice.

The chief justice expressed his anger when he was informed that Ogra had outsourced the function of inspection to ensure quality of petrol being sold.

It has been directed to submit a report regarding outsourcing of the inspection mechanism and the companies’ details to which the function has been outsourced.

The chief justice also enquired about the salary packages of PSO and Ogra chiefs.

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Haq said he was getting Rs3.7 million, much to the annoyance of Justice Nisar, who sought details and record of the managing director’s appointment.

“Things won’t improve until heads of the institutions improve,” he observed.

The Ogra chairperson said her take-home was around Rs0.4 million.

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