Gas tariff

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THE Oil and Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has reportedly proposed massive increase in the prices of gas prices to meet the revenue requirements of gas utilities.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is expected to take the final decision regarding increase in the gas prices for consumers.

There is no denying that due to depletion of domestic reserves, the country is now heavily reliant on the import of gas which, at present, is very expensive and the government is left with no option but to pass the burden on the consumers.

Just like the power sector, the circular debt in gas is also on the rise and the government will have to do something to check it.

But having said so, it is also a fact that the price hike has already broken the back of common man.

Essential commodities including the electricity bills are going beyond their reach. Hence, enhancing gas prices and that too massively will not be a feasible option but only draw strong reaction from the public who in recent months also took to the streets against inflated electricity bills and the government under duress has to defer the receipt of Fuel Charges Adjustment (FCA) from consumers using electricity up to three hundred units.

Hence, it is expected that the PM will take the decision regarding gas prices keeping in view the current situation and hopefully the burden will not be shifted to the poor consumers.

There was a time when the country was self reliant in gas but due to mismanagement and lack of focus on new discoveries, the country today is faced with severe gas shortage because of which the CNG sector is also closed over the last almost one year.

The government must give a serious consideration to enhancing exploration of oil and gas in potential areas.

There is also need to tap huge hydrocarbon seepages in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Besides taking a clue from China, we should also launch projects to convert Thar Coal into gas and diesel in order to meet the domestic requirements.

This will not only help keep the gas prices down but also save valuable foreign exchange currently being spent on the import of gas.

 

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