LAHORE, June 5: Powerful business lobbies came together on Tuesday to demand from the government to review and reverse the policy of encouraging inefficient and wasteful use of natural gas as an alternate, subsidised fuel for filling the car tanks of the wealthy.
The newly-formed Save Pakistan Industry Forum comprising All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), Independent Power Producers Advisory Council (IPPAC) and urea manufacturers is already taking out advertisements in the media as part of its campaign to create awareness about the negative effects of the 10-year old government policy of promoting
CNG (compressed natural gas) as fuel for vehicles.
“About 500mmcfd gas is being wasted in the tanks of the cars in Pakistan at the expense of jobs, exports and investment,” Aptma leader Gohar Ejaz flanked by IPPAC’s Shahid Abdullah and urea manufacturers’ representative Ahmed Bilal told a press conference organised by the forum on Tuesday.
“Pakistan is on the top of the list of countries using natural gas with 3.5 million vehicles already converted on CNG. In spite of gas shortages the CNG consumption has recorded a phenomenal growth of 25 per cent in the last five years,” Gohar said. “This despite that Pakistan ranks at 24th among the countries producing gas,” he added. He said the diversion of gas to the CNG sector from efficient power sector was the main cause of higher electricity prices. The dependency of power producers on imported, expensive oil is pushing electricity prices, he said.
According to him, the per unit price of electricity could come down by Rs3 if the power producers were run on gas, which will provide a relief of Rs200 billion in electricity bills and result in substantial reduction in power cuts.
Gohar said the gas curtailment to the fertiliser industry had forced urea plants to cut their output and compelled government to provide subsidy of Rs100 billion on imported chemical.