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All set to increase HOBC rate

ISLAMABAD – In yet another controversial decision, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MPNR) is set to jack up high-octane (HOBC) price in Sindh compared to the rest of the country, thanks to the ever-ill policies of the government gurus.According to informed circles, the MPNR has decided in principle to completely deregulate the price of high octane blended component (HOBC) and resultantly, the price will be Rs1.60/liter higher in Karachi, rural, urban and interior Sindh in comparison with the price of the product in rest of the country.Sources in petroleum ministry further informed that the ministry, in a bid to completely deregulate the price of HOBC in the country, has drafted a summary seeking the approval from economic coordination committee (ECC) of the cabinet in its upcoming meeting scheduled to meet on 15th May. With this decision, HOBC will be cheaper upto Rs3.62 per litre in some parts of the country while the price of the product will be higher by Rs1.60/litre in Sindh province. They said ministry has taken this decision in accordance with the light of Justice (Retd) Bhagwandas Commission report. It was also learnt that with approval of the ECC, price for per liter of HOBC in Karachi and the Sindh province as a whole will witness an increase of Rs1.60 while the price will be decreased by Rs3.62/liter in rest of the country with this decision. It has also been decided to end the Inland Freight Equalization Margin (IFEM) already imposed on transportation of high-octane blended component in the country. Sources also said that as HOBC is being refined in Pak Arab Refinery Ltd (PARCO) refinery located in Muzaffargarh district of Punjab province so the product will be cheaper by 28 paisa per litre at Sehala depot, Rs 1.08/liter in Machaiki Depot located in Sheikhopura, while Rs3.62 in Mehmoodkot depot of Muzaffargarh district and 10 paisa decrease in Peshawar.It is to be noted here that with an end to imposed IFEM on HOBC in the country, which is currently being transported from Mehmoodkot to Karachi and other big cities of the Sindh province, will cause increase in the price especially in Sindh province as a whole if in comparison with the price of the product in rest of the parts of the country. However, price of HOBC will be decreased in nearer areas of the depot while it will be higher in far flung areas.Sources in the ministry, however, made it also clear that HOBC is being taken as a test case for completely deregulating the price and later rest of petroleum oil and lubricant (POL) products will also be completely deregulated. They were of the view that this decision is being taken in connivance with the high ups of the ministry only to serve the vested interests of influential big wigs engaged in the business of HOBC and will cause price disparity in the country.

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