PAC orders inquiry into cheap Russian oil claim

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ISLAMABAD, JUN 22 (DNA) — The Public Accounts Committee of National Assembly has ordered an investigation into the claim of the previous rulers regarding possible cheap oil deal with Russia.

A meeting of the National Assembly body was held in Islamabad under the chair of its chief Noor Alam Khan on Wednesday.  The committee ordered an inquiry into the statements given by the previous rulers regarding an agreement, if matured, might have resulted in the purchase of cheap oil from Russia.

Noor Alam asked the petroleum ministry to inform the committee in black and white about the reality of the discounted oil from Russia. Senator Shibli Faraz told the PAC that the previous PTI government had started a dialogue for the purchase of oil from Russia.

 He wanted to know about the further progress on the cheap oil purchase agreement with Kremlin by the present government.  The PAC chairman sought documents exchanged with Russia for this purpose. Senator Talha Mehmood also vouched for investigation into the cheap oil claim.

Noor Alam chipped in saying media was also showing a ‘letter’ which should also be investigated.  The PAC was informed that the energy circular debt had reached Rs4,000 billion. According to energy secretary Ali Raza Bhutta, the circular debt for electricity had swelled to Rs2,500 billion and for gas, it had soared to Rs1,500 billion.

The secretary said that the circular debt of PSO, PPL, Sui Northern and Sui Southern was also ballooning, adding that due to rising circular debt, the local companies had stopped investing in energy sector.

The committee chairman observed that the OGRA had failed to provide facilities to the exploration companies due to which companies were shying to invest.  The energy secretary confessed that the government did not have the capacity to provide gas connection to 100% houses.

He said that through gas pipeline, only 27% housing units were provided with the gas connection.  Mr Bhutta informed the NA body that no new demand notices were being issued. =DNA