Divided Dealers Cause Partial Petrol Pump Closure

Divided Dealers Cause Partial Petrol Pump Closure

Karachi, July 5, 2024 – Pakistan witnessed a patchy petrol pump strike on Friday as the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) remained split over a call to protest a new 0.5% turnover tax imposed in the recent federal budget.

PPDA Chairman Abdul Sami Khan had previously announced a nationwide shutdown, but a faction of the association disagreed. This group, led by more optimistic members, favored further negotiations with the government before resorting to harsher measures like an indefinite strike.

PPDA Secretary General Noman Ali Butt downplayed the strike claims, assuring the public that fuel supplies would continue uninterrupted. He stated that talks with the government were ongoing and authorities were addressing their concerns.

However, another PPDA spokesperson, Hasan Shah, emphasized the need for stronger action. He reminded dealers of previous protests, including road blockades, and argued that negotiations should be a last resort.

This disunity resulted in a mixed picture across the country. Karachi saw a significant number of pumps closed, particularly in the morning. But some, especially along major roads like University Road and Shahrah-e-Faisal, remained operational.

Lahore, on the other hand, completely disregarded the strike call. The Petroleum Dealers Association Punjab, despite facing a breakdown in negotiations with the government, chose to keep pumps open for now.

Similarly, petrol pump owners in Lodhran distanced themselves from the strike and continued normal business.

The Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and the Petroleum Division jointly assured the public of uninterrupted fuel availability. They highlighted sufficient stocks and directed all Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to maintain adequate supplies at pumps and ensure their operation.

Additionally, a monitoring cell has been established to track fuel supplies and coordinate with relevant parties during the strike. Ogra will also deploy its teams to monitor the situation and address any issues.

Provincial Chief Secretaries have been urged to take steps to maximize the number of open retail outlets and facilitate the movement of oil tankers during the day to replenish stocks at operational pumps.

The divided stance of the PPDA has led to a partial petrol pump closure in some areas, while others continue business as usual. The coming days will reveal whether negotiations succeed or if the discontented faction pushes for a more decisive strike action.