LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari has constituted a high-powered committee comprising key federal ministers and businessmen for using funds to be generated from gas (infrastructure) development surcharge (GIDS) recently imposed on the industry for removing gas shortages through LNG.
The committee notified by the government comprises federal ministers for petroleum, finance, law and water and power and business leaders Gohar Ejaz, Ahsan Bashir, Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Shahid Abdullah and Fawwad Mukhtar.
The businessmen on the committee represent all major sectors – general industry, fertiliser, power, textile and engineering affected adversely by gas power shortages in Punjab.
It may be mentioned that the industry experienced 170 days suspension of gas in Punjab during the last financial year in addition to an average 4-6 hours of power cuts. Hundreds of industrial units have been closed down and thousands of jobs lost in Punjab because of energy shortages.
The committee has been tasked to oversee the utilisation of GIDS solely for the development of infrastructure rather than financing budget deficit to facilitate import of LNG during the coming winter in order to ensure provision of gas to the industry in Punjab.
The committee is said to have begun its work on fast track to make sure that LNG imports start before the start of winter.
“The formation of the committee shows that the government is serious about eliminating energy shortages for all sectors of the industry in the country,” Gohar told Dawn on Friday.
He said the LNG imports for meeting domestic gas requirements would help boost business confidence, attract fresh investment in the industry, create jobs and boost exports and push economic growth.