In this Dec 11, 2012 photo, drivers queue at a gas station in Islamabad. — Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD, Dec 22: The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has asked the petroleum ministry and the Cabinet division to finalise policy guidelines for CNG so that the existing crisis can be tackled at the earliest.

In a letter to the government on Saturday, the regulator highlighted that the petroleum ministry was reluctant to finalise CNG rates and the delay was causing resentment among masses.

Since Ogra has still not been able to finalise a pricing formula based on evidence and in accordance with the prescribed process, it is once again directed to discharge its obligation in accordance with the law. It must do so in a swift manner, and after obtaining all necessary feedback from stakeholders,” the regulator said in the letter.

Earlier, in a meeting with advisor to Prime Minister on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain in his office on Friday, Ogra officials informed Mr Hussain that the regulator was under severe pressure and it has to announce CNG prices at the earliest.

“We have asked the ministry to resolve the issue of CNG policy guidelines so that prices could be fixed in line with the order of Supreme Court,” an Ogra official told Dawn, adding that a copy had been forwarded to the cabinet division as the regulator was constitutionally under the cabinet division.”

However, sources in the ministry said that the advisor wanted some time on the grounds that CNG policy guidelines were in the process of approval.

An official of petroleum ministry said that finalisation of CNG policy guidelines was essential because there was a need to discourage use of CNG to save natural gas for other important usage and its price would be linked at 80 per cent parity with the price of petrol.

“The Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) for the CNG would also be enhanced,” the official said.

“The usage of natural gas in CNG sector was going beyond control and there was a need for a balanced approach.”

He said that the growth in supply of natural gas has not been in line with rising demand.

Stake-holders have started pressuring authorities for an early finalisation of CNG prices so that the existing crisis could be brought to an end.

The All-Pakistan CNG Association on Saturday also asked Ogra to announce interim CNG sale price to save CNG filling station owners from insolvency.

“Interim prices will help Ogra take time to review audit reports of 3,400 CNG outlets to know average cost etc. and take appropriate decision,” the association said in a letter to the regulator.

The association referred to Supreme Court decision that a new formula acceptable to all stakeholders and masses be devised.

The APCNGA maintained that the consumers were paying Rs13.25 in terms of taxes in Region I, while the same was Rs9.18 in Region-II which is a discrimination.

The CNG association also said that the move to link CNG prices with petrol was a violation of the ruling by the apex court.

Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Chairman, Supreme Council APCNGA, said in a statement that masses, as well as owners of CNG stations, were facing crisis for the last two months, and the authorities were still unmoved.

“Despite directives by the subcommittee of the Economic Coordination Council, the petroleum ministry is yet to start consultations with stakeholders which indicates their lack of interest to resolve the ongoing crisis,” Mr Paracha said.

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