Lahore—The All Pakistan Business Forum President Ibrahim Qureshi has said that Pakistan Qatar LNG deal would save the country’s $1 billion annually while a further $600 million could be saved in diesel costs for power generators. He, however, raised objection on the ambiguous way of striking deal on import of Liquefied Natural Gas from Qatar, besides questioning the levy of over Rs100 billion additional taxes on gas consumers to meet the cost of pipeline for transportation of LNG from Qatar.
Ibrahim Qureshi also raised the question over transparency in the deal, asking as to why no international tenders were called and why a long-term agreement was signed with Qatar. APBF President questioned the decision to construct the proposed pipeline from Qatar for a foreign company with the money of public. Moreover, the transportation problem within the country has not been resolved. The LNG transportation will require pipeline from Karachi to upcountry which will take a long time.
Ibrahim Qureshi was of the view that a deal with Iran or Russia could have been made at further cheaper rates. Moreover, Qatar was in pro-Saudi Arabia camp and might force Pakistan to drop gas pipeline project with Iran. He said the government had bound the future governments to continue with the import of gas on the same terms, as the present government inked the deal for 15 years, which is objectionable. “Over all forty six billion dollars investment from China, LNG agreement with Qatar and decision of export of manpower to other countries will help country achieve a growth target of seven percent in a speedier manner. Although economy had not come out of woods so far, however the positive developments on the economic front are giving encouragement to the business community.”
He said that decision of LNG import from Qatar would resolve the issue of energy crisis and sufficient energy now would be available to keep the industrial wheel run. He demanded early implementation of other projects, including the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI) and Pak-Iran gas pipeline, as LNG deal with Qatar could help the government overcome energy shortfall in the country by only 20 percent.