Fresh candidates must be given chance to improve performance Establish independent laboratories to expose incompetence of gas companie
ISLAMABAD: Incompetence of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) is an open secret as often we witness many questions being raised about the performance of organization, there is dire need to bring in fresh blood, neutral and unbiased applicants to steer the sinking ship of OGRA.
Some of the major reasons behind incompetence of ORGA include presence of dozens of officers in OGRA who came from Gas and OIL Companies, appointment of retired persons as chairman and members who had little interest in safeguarding public interest, non-qualified members having little relevance to the sector, gas companies are enjoying free hand because of the fact that their employees have been repeatedly appointed in OGRA at top management level.
As per details, OGRA remains in news for all the wrong reasons, authority has mainly one job to do that is to regulate oil and gas sector, but we often see issues of shortage of oil and gas in the country. In the last month country witnessed shortage of petrol which reflects the fact of inefficiency of OGRA, this has happened multiple times. Top managers of OGRA often are not vigilant regarding emergence of shortages.
Gas consumers, particularly in winters, suffer due to the high handedness of gas companies with little or rather no check from OGRA. All stake holders have time and again requested to the authority to have own independent laboratory for checking and testing of gas meters, but their grievances are not redressed. At the moment all the gas meters are being tested by gas companies themselves and consumers are being wrongly charged for gas theft only due to incompetence of OGRA. Gas losses of major companies have increased up to 20% and ultimately innocent consumers have to pay for the ineffectiveness of OGRA. How gas companies can hold transparent testing and checking of fictitious meters if the tests are being examined by the laboratories run by gas companies themselves? How can they reveal their own incompetence? There is dire need to establish independent laboratories for this matter, so inefficiency of gas companies could be exposed.
OGRA was created in 2002 to regulate oil and gas sector. It is a quasi judicial body with one chairperson and three members namely, Oil, Gas and Finance. Initially body was headed by professionals with relevant experience and in result gas and oil sectors were very efficiently regulated. But from the past few years the Authority and its performance has been on the decline due to some certain reasons. Main reason is induction of less experienced and people with irrelevant experience at the top management level.
In the past Auditor General of Pakistan has raised the questions regarding appointment of OGDCL chairperson due to conflict of interest and against the laid down rules. According to clause 5 (2) of the OGRA ordinance, no person shall be appointed member or he or she has any direct or indirect financial interest or any connection which might reasonably be viewed as giving rise to conflict of interest with any person involved in the regulated activity. As per the rules the chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority shall be eminent professional and known integrity and competence with a minimum of 20 years of related experience.
OGRA selection committee will be meeting regarding selection of the new Chairperson, it is hoped that a person with right professional experience, who has no conflict of interest, will be the Chairperson of the authority.
Considering the questionable performance of existing members of OGRA management, who were appointed in the previous regimes, it would be great not to consider them again for the challenging job. Energetic people with right experience should be given a chance. Few candidates are suitable as per the required experience for the top post, which do not have conflict of interest, Shahzad Iqbal, who is a foreign qualified from Imperial College London, and another candidate Col ® Farukh Nadeem, are decent candidates. Prime Minister of Pakistan, relevant Ministry and other authorities must make sure that this time a right candidate is given the opportunity to fix sorry state of affairs of OGRA.