The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, in a significant move, has given its nod to incrementally raise the margins of petroleum dealers and oil marketing companies (OMCs) starting from September 15. This decision followed a detailed review of a proposal submitted by the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division).

The ECC’s decision entails an enhancement of the margins for petroleum dealers handling Motor Spirit (MS) and High-Speed Diesel (HSD) by Rs1.64 per litre. This increment will be implemented through four fortnightly installments of Rs0.41 per litre, effective from September 15, 2023.

Furthermore, OMCs will also see their margins on MS and HSD increase by Rs1.87 per litre. This increment will likewise be phased in over four installments, each amounting to Rs0.47 per litre, also commencing on September 15, 2023.

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To ensure transparency and efficiency in determining these margins, the ECC has entrusted the responsibility to the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra). Ogra is expected to develop a systematic mechanism for margin calculation, taking into account the operational costs incurred by OMCs and dealers, with specific reference to Pakistan State Oil (PSO).

In a separate development, the ECC meeting addressed the financial challenges faced by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). The national carrier had requested a provision of Rs22.9 billion, as well as the deferment of Rs1.3 billion per month to the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR), along with loans and markup amounts until the finalization of the restructuring plan.

However, the ECC decided to reject PIA’s request. It was also agreed upon that the Finance Division and the State Bank of Pakistan would extend their support to PIA once a concrete restructuring plan is developed and submitted to the committee’s satisfaction.

Additionally, the ECC approved a Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs40 billion to fund various pre-approved projects for defense services and to cover subsidies and miscellaneous expenditures during the fiscal year 2023-24. This funding will be disbursed on a case-by-case basis, aligning with the current budgetary provisions.

According to The News, The ECC’s decisions reflect the government’s commitment to addressing the financial dynamics of the petroleum sector and the ongoing restructuring efforts within PIA, while maintaining fiscal prudence in budget allocations.

This latest development is expected to have a significant impact on the energy sector and the national carrier, as stakeholders closely monitor the implementation of the ECC’s decisions in the coming fortnights.