LAHORE, May 19: The caretaker government would increase gas rates for all five categories of consumers, Petroleum Minister Suhail Wajahat said on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference with federal minister for water and power, Mr Wajahat said that all five categories of consumers (CNG, domestic/ commercial, power, fertiliser and cement sectors) would face increase in tariff.
He said that without tariff increase, the sector would suffer “irreparable economic and efficiency loss”.
“But an attempt will be made to create a balance between sectoral fiscal needs and people’s capacity to pay,” the minister said.
About supply of oil and gas to the power sector, he said that during the election week the sector had arranged gas and oil without getting payments. “It cannot afford any more. The supply cannot be free of cost,” he insisted.
“We asked the Finance Division to release Rs150 billion for keeping the supply chain intact but have not got it yet. How could a sector survive without any money? The Karachi Electric Supply Company owes Rs60 billion (Rs47bn to SSGPL and Rs13bn to PSO) to the ministry. How can the ministry afford this kind of credit to each of its consumer?”
The ministry has conveyed to both gas companies that it would have zero tolerance for gas theft and recoveries. “The gas theft and line losses are costing the country around Rs300bn a year. Such inefficiency cannot and should not be tolerated,” he said. —Ahmad Fraz Khan