The government is swiftly moving towards deregulating petroleum product prices to counter concerns regarding escalating fuel prices and the repercussions of smuggled oil products on the market.

The Petroleum Division has directed the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to furnish an analysis and implications report on deregulating petroleum products within three days. As per reports from a national daily, authorities intend to shift the focus of criticism from the government to oil marketing companies. Deregulation would essentially grant oil companies the authority to determine prices for MS petrol and high-speed diesel (HSD) across various cities and towns. While legally petroleum prices are already deregulated, kerosene prices remain the only ones officially established by the government.

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Under the proposed framework, OGRA and the Competition Commission of Pakistan are expected to assume a more significant role in ensuring product quality, availability, and competitive pricing to thwart market collusion.

The Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC) recently cautioned the federal government about the adverse effects of widespread smuggling on government revenue and local refineries. They express concerns that it could potentially undermine planned investments in refinery expansion and upgrading projects aimed at meeting environmentally friendly specifications.

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