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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat passed the “Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021”.

The committee met with MNA Kishwer Zehra in the chair at the Parliament House, on Wednesday.

The committee offered fateha on the sad demise of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan and Pervez Malik, Member National Assembly.

The committee discussed the “The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021”. The chairman Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) briefed the committee about the objectives of the proposed legislation.

He said that the amendment was brought to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)/Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) licensing and pricing under regulatory framework, which will also empower the OGRA to determine and notify the RLNG, sale price under the OGRA Ordinance, 2002.

The committee read out the bill clause by clause and unanimously passed it.

The chairman OGRA further briefed the committee about the enhancement of gas tariff by the OGRA on the request of the distribution companies.

He said that there were two types of mechanisms for determine the prices of natural gas under the OGRA Ordinance, 2002, i.e. (i) Prescribed Price-determined by OGRA (under Section 8(1) and (2) of the OGRA Ordinance, 2002; and (ii) Sale price -fixed by federal government and notified by OGRA (under Section 8(3) of Ordinance).

He added that the OGRA has recently determined the Estimated Revenue Requirement (ERR) of the SNGPL and the SSGCL for financial year 2021-22, at 14 percent and seven percent, respectively.

However, the government has not yet announced any change in the prices.

While briefing the committee by the chairman OGRA on regulatory mechanism on the OGRA regarding gas distribution sector, vis-a-vis delivery, quality assurance and complaint resolution, he said that a well-established regulatory mechanism has been placed by the OGRA for speedy resolution of complaints, without any cost by designated offices of OGRA under Complaint Resolution Procedure Regulations, 2003.

Moreover, appeals can also be filed against the decision of the designated officer and finally, there was provision for review against the appeal’s decision.

The committee members have expressed their concerns with regard to the redressal of complaints and measures taken by the OGRA against gas distribution companies on complaints regarding over billing and delays in providing domestic residential and industrial connections.

The representative from the SNGPL informed that 3.5 million applications were pending for new connections; however, the department was working on its full swing to facilitate the consumer in this regard.

The committee directed the OGRA to provide the details of total numbers of gas wells, names of the companies working on these sites, and the value of awarding the contract to the said companies.

The committee discussed the issues being faced by the general public regarding deduction of higher taxes by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on the usage of cellular phone and provision of poor services by the cellular companies in various parts of the country.

The committee decided that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the Ministry of Information, Technology and Telecommunication, the Pakistan Telecommuni-cation Authority (PTA), and all relevant stakeholders will be called in the upcoming meeting of the committee to discuss the unacceptable performance of the private cellular companies.

The said issue was taken up on the question raised by the honourable member in the House and the same was referred to the Committee for its consideration.

The meeting was attended by Ali Muhammad Khan, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs; MNAs Saleem Rehman, Ali Nawaz Awan, Khawaja Sheraz Mehmood, Muhammad Hashim, Rasheed Ahmad Khan, Rana Iradat Sharif Khan, Shehnaz Saleem Malik, Seema Mohiuddin Jameeli, Roshanuddin Junejo, Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur, Mohsin Dawar, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, mover, additional secretary, Cabinet Division, and senior officers of the concerned departments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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