ISLAMABAD, June 5: Long queues were seen at CNG stations soon after the dealers announced their decision to go on an indefinite strike from Wednesday.
The compressed natural gas sector has decided to stop sale across the country against the imposition of heavy tax on CNG, bringing its price close to that of petrol.
As the government has enhanced Gas Infrastructure Development Cess rate in the Finance Bill 2012, the price of per kilogramme CNG would be around Rs98 in northern Punjab, including the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
The Finance Bill 2012 suggested cess to be Rs300 per mmbtu for CNG in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Potohar region, while for region-II, which includes Sindh, southern and central Punjab, it would be Rs200 per mmbtu.
As the cess has been enhanced by more than 100 per cent for the CNG sector, the retail CNG rate in the region-II would be Rs89 per kilogramme if the suggested levy was implemented.
Besides, the Finance Bill also suggested that cess rate for fertiliser feedstock would be Rs300 per mmbtu and for industrial consumers, Wapda/ KESC and IPPs it would be Rs100 per mmbtu.
The announcement to shut down CNG stations was made by Ghiyas Paracha, the chairman of the CNG Association of Pakistan, at a press conference here on Tuesday.
“This is not an issue for a few businesses but for 3.5 million vehicles using CNG as the main fuel and the investments made in 3,300 CNG stations across the country.”
He called upon all political parties to support them as it would also help the masses.
“The government will only add fuel to the fire of inflation by increasing the CNG rates,” he said and added that bringing CNG rates close to that of petrol would only increase petrol imports.
He said CNG industry was paying the highest gas tariff of Rs889 per mmbtu and after the imposition of cess the tariff for the sector would be Rs1189 pr mmbtu. On the other hand, the fertilizer sector is paying Rs116 per mmbtu and with the addition of cess at Rs300 per mmbtu its tariff would reach just Rs416 per mmbtu.
The CNG association has also started making contacts with transporters in a hope that they would also join the strike.
Though the strike call has been given for an indefinite period, even if a compromise is made with the petroleum ministry in a day or two, the consumers in the Potohar region will have to face a minimum of almost five days CNG shutdown as Thursday, Friday and Saturday are already weekly CNG loadshedding days.