KARACHI: Station owners have increased the price of compressed natural gas (CNG by Rs1.70 per kg in Karachi and other parts of Sindh to Rs81.70 from Rs80 per kg.

The government had deregulated CNG price in December 2016 which at that time was available at Rs67.50 per kg. From December 2016 till now, it has risen by Rs14 per kg as station owners have been taking full advantage of the policy by frequently jacking up rates every three to four months.

In December 2016, the petrol price stood at Rs66.27 per litre which has now reached Rs87.70 per litre, up by Rs 21.43.

All Pakistan CNG Forum’s Chairman Shabbir Sulemanji reiterated that gas stations have been facing higher costs due to exorbitant increases in the gross colorific value in the bills by Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGC) in the last few months. He said after continuous rise in petrol rates, the CNG price difference with petrol has further increased to 39 per cent from 35pc some months back.

The use of CNG has grown as more transporters and commuters now largely rely on gas due to its higher mileage and low cost, he pointed out, urging SSGC to ensure uninterrupted supply of gas throughout the week to stations since many cash-constrained people still cannot afford petrol.

He said the use of CNG would replace millions of tonnes of oil, resulting in lowering trade deficit and improving the balance of payment.

Sindh consumes around 80mmcfd of CNG versus Khybder Paktunkhawa at 65mmcfd. Whereas in Punjab reliquified natural gas (RLNG) is being used for the transport sector with a consumption of 60mmcfd.

Economic Survey 2017-18 says the government had initially encouraged use of CNG as an alternative fuel for automobiles in order to contain environmental degradation, reduce foreign exchange expenditure on the import of liquid fuel and generate employment. Pursuant to its investor-friendly initiatives, Pakistan has become the world’s leading CNG-user country.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2018

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