NA Body on Cabinet Secretariat meets

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat on Wednesday unanimously recommended that “The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021|” might be passed by the National Assembly.

The committee meeting held at Parliament House, under the chairpersonship of Ms. Kishwer Zehra, MNA.

At the outset of the meeting the committee members offered ‘Fateha’ for the departed souls of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and Pervez Malik, Member of National Assembly.

The Committee discussed in detail “The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021” while the Chairman Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) briefed the Committee about the objectives of the proposed legislation, and said that the amendment was brought to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)/Re-gasified 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 recommended that the same may be got passed by the National Assembly.

The chairman, OGRA further briefed the Committee about the enhancement of gas tariff by OGRA on the request of the Distribution Companies.

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

He added that OGRA has recently determined the Estimated Revenue Requirement (ERR) of SNGPL and SSGCL for financial year 2021-22, @ 14% and 7%, respectively.

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

While briefing the Committee, the chairman OGRA 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 under complaint resolution procedure regulations, 2003.

Moreover, appeals can also be filed against the decision of designated officers 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 delayed for providing domestic residential and industrial connections.

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

The Committee directed the OGRA for providing 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 general public regarding deduction of higher taxes by the Federal Board of Revenue on the usage of cellular phone and providing poor services by the cellular companies in different parts of the country.

The Committee decided that Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Pakistan Telecommunication 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, Ms. Shehnaz Saleem Malik, Ms. Seema Mohiuddin Jameeli, Roshanuddin Junejo, Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur, Mohsin Dawar, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Mover, Additional Secretary, Cabinet Division and Senior officers of concerned departments.