THE caretaker government’s decision to place a ban on the use of subsidised CNG in cars and other vehicles with an engine capacity of over 1000cc is a welcome step. This measure will help save gas — a depleting natural resource — and divert it to the power sector and industry, which, at present, are looking for strong support from the government in order to put the economy back on track. It should also help to eliminate to some extent the untargeted subsidies being pocketed by the wealthy in the name of the poor. While exempting public transport from the ban to provide cheaper travel facilities to ordi-nary people must be appreciated, not including government-maintained vehicles in the list goes against the principles of equity and fairness. The decision will obviously hurt the owners of CNG stations who have invested billions in this sector over the last decade or so; it will cut their sales and profit margins. Therefore, their association took little time to reject it. It is time the policymakers stood their ground instead of buckling under the pressure of vested interests at the cost of the country’s economy and growth.

Ever since the government started encouraging the use of CNG for transport to reduce its petroleum imports in the early 2000s, more and more car owners have switched to this resource to save on fuel costs. Today, Pakistan has the largest fleet of vehicles running on CNG with luxury car owners and CNG station owners being the major beneficiaries. A consensus has developed amongst the economic experts over the years that the government should phase out the use of CNG for private transport and restrict it to public transport alone. The ban should only be the first step in that direction. But, as it turns out, the caretaker government has taken the decision in haste without the approval of the Economic Coordination Committee or the cabinet. Chances are the courts will strike it down unless the judges choose to ignore this legal lapse.

Updated May 23, 2013 08:34am

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Comments (7) (Closed)


malole
May 23, 2013 06:27am
On the contrary the less CNG these cars use the more crude we have to import. Afterall these cars cant run on air. So take you pick.
Mohsin Rwp
May 23, 2013 06:54am
But cars over 1000 cc purchased before last five years must also be allowed to use CNG because most of the Lower middle class use old cars. Secondly public transporters must be bound to charge the fare at par CNG price otherwise this facility must be taken back from them.
Ijaz
May 23, 2013 07:31am
Would some one pay heed to the extortion by transporters running public transport on CNG while charging the fares from commuters based on diesel fuel, thus grabbing undue profit. I think considering accidents involving CNG cylinder blasts and profiteering by transporters, CNG supply to public transport should also be banned. Moreover, old vintage cars with more than 1000 CC engine be allowed supply of CNG as its poor man's choice for family travel because old cars with more than 1000 CC engines are cheaper than relatively new version of 1000 CC cars.
Parrot
May 24, 2013 06:02am
Definitely not a welcome or wise step. Why did the government encourage the import and conversion to the CNG in the first place, Now when the innocent consumers have switched to the cheaper alternative, due the over-zealous efforts of the government, the government itself wants to make a U-turn. Was it done only to make happy the CNG importing mafia. Now that the market is saturated and not many CNG kits are being sold. Government has made this decision. Now we have to import crude oil to keep the same mafia happy. Who is the Einstein who started all of this Tsunami. First the introduction of CNG and then ban on it.
Parrot
May 24, 2013 06:06am
P.S. I don't use CNG, so don't think my comments as sour grapes.
Danish
May 24, 2013 08:47am
I have a 97 model over a 1000 cc car and if I haven't changed it in the last 13 years, it means I am not rich enough so my fuel expenses going 3 times is NOT WELCOME !
zeeshan
May 24, 2013 10:23am
there is no longer ban on more the 1000 cc cars, looks like the writer of the article has not been watching Television lately.