Minister puts rumours to rest, says govt not cancelling any contract
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is not terminating any contract initiated by its predecessors, said Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Ghulam Sarwar Khan. Referring to rumours of renegotiation of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal with Qatar, Khan said that the LNG contract was for 15 years, the details of which could not be made public. “The LNG deal is being looked at by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” the minister said while addressing a press conference on Monday. He said Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) pipeline project was the cheapest one in terms of gas import. “The deal with Turkmenistan for gas import through Tapi pipeline is the cheapest one when compared with Qatar and Iran gas deals,” Khan said, adding that Turkmenistan had already initiated work on the pipeline and “we want Pakistan to initiate work on the project in the coming quarter”. Talking about natural gas tariffs, the federal minister said all political parties should arrive at a consensus for rationalising tariffs across the country. “Both distribution companies – Sui Northern Gas Pipelines and Sui Southern Gas Company are posting a loss of Rs48 billion annually; the prime reasons being line losses and gas theft,” he pointed out. Elaborating, the minister said in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa the gas theft ratio was 33%, which translated into an annual loss of Rs6 billion in Peshawar only. “We are trying to curtail such huge line losses by 1% annually.” He reiterated that during winter, all industries would get uninterrupted gas supply from the distribution companies. “We are not going to stop the industrial wheel during winters and industrialists will receive subsidised bills after November 16, 2018.” He said all zero-rated industrial units needed to operate at all cost for which the government was offering a subsidy of Rs25 billion. “It has been decided that the fertiliser industry will also be given subsidy till March next year. Other industries will get subsidy till June 2019.” Khan admitted that the energy crisis had hit Pakistan’s share in export markets. “The industry of Faisalabad has shrunk massively due to the energy crisis and this is the reason why the decision on LNG import for Punjab has been taken.” Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2018.