The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Monday decided not to go through with a proposed 46 per cent hike in gas tariffs despite Prime Minister Imran Khan having okayed the move last week, Radio Pakistan reported citing Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.
On September 4, the prime minister had given the petroleum division his go-ahead to raise gas price across the country — a move that would have seen domestic and commercial consumers bear the heaviest brunt.
The proposed hike, however, was shot down by the ECC on Monday in a meeting chaired by Finance Minister Asad Umar, according to Chaudhry.
The information minister said that a new plan — one that does not affect the poor spectrum of the society but ratchets up the contribution of the affluent to reduce the gas sector deficit — will be formulated. A final decision in this regard, Chaudhry said, will be taken by the prime minister.
Chaudhry blamed the previous PML-N government for the gas sector deficit, which he claimed has soared to Rs156 billion per annum.
“When the PML-N govt was formed in 2013, there wasn’t even a rupee of deficit,” he said. “But their experienced team allowed the deficit to grow to Rs156bn annually in the five years since.”
The minister urged former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to explain how the deficits grew to such an extent when “he had claimed that there will be greenery (prosperity) everywhere” due to the deals he has signed.
Furthermore, Chaudhry observed that the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) has also increased by 70 per cent, and vowed that measures will be taken to bring it under control.
He said that the ECC has also decided to import 100,000 ton of urea, which will be provided at subsidised rates to the farmer community.