Lawmakers push for oil sector investment in skills, entrepreneurship for economic self-reliance

December 06, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s oil and gas companies should invest more in skill development and entrepreneurship initiatives to help the country achieve self-reliance and economic growth, a parliamentary panel said on Tuesday.

Oil and gas companies have a crucial role to play in the development and prosperity of the country. By investing in skill development and supporting entrepreneurship initiatives, they can not only contribute to the growth of local businesses but also foster a self-sustainable economy.

The Sub-Committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum met with Senator Prince Ahmed Omer Ahmedzai, who convened the proceedings. The primary agenda of the meeting was to scrutinize the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives undertaken by both public and private oil and gas companies operating in Balochistan.

An oil drilling site was set up with the help of a consortium of four major oil exploration companies near the southern port city of Karachi in Pakistan after four months. — AFP/File

Seven prominent companies participated in the session, each presenting their initiatives and operational strategies. Prime Company initiated the presentations, providing comprehensive insights into their CSR initiatives. Subsequently, Al-Haj Company disclosed their expenditures, detailing investments of Rs.300,000 in the Baska North division and approximately Rs.254,908 in the Potwar South division.

Deewan Petroleum emphasized its commitment to social welfare, focusing on clean water supply, educational programs, free bus services, and flood relief activities. PGNiG (Polish Oil and Gas Company) outlined its CSR priorities, with a major emphasis on addressing water scarcity in the region. Senator Prince Ahmed Omer Ahmedzai recommended the introduction of sports initiatives in the area.

Orient Petroleum Company highlighted ongoing projects, addressing concerns about water shortages and sharing details about the installation of water pumps in various villages. KUFPEC (Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration) specified contributions of 18 million in Chakwal, 10 million in Attock, and 1 million in Kohat. KPOGCL (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Company Limited) expressed optimism about future discoveries.

The convenor of the sub-committee suggested that all oil and gas companies should prioritize skill development and entrepreneurship initiatives. By emphasizing these aspects, individuals will initiate a transition towards self-sustainability, ultimately benefiting both Pakistan and its economy.

Senior officers from the Oil and Petroleum division provided additional insights into the social obligations of companies, discussing operational aspects, company ownership (government or private), and collective challenges faced by the industry.

The convenor addressed issues such as the opening of joint accounts in districts, the need for regular social meetings, and diverse political representation in district social committees.

In attendance were Senator Fida Muhammad, senior officials from the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division), and representatives from the participating companies. The sub-committee concluded by endorsing the convenor's recommendations, with a primary focus on skill development initiatives.