ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Thursday approved a 67 per cent increase in the natural gas tariff with effect from Feb 1, apparently to meet the revenue requirement of the gas utilities targeted for the current year.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the cabinet meeting presided over by caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar approved all decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet, including the decision to spike gas tariff.

Later, the Petroleum Division issued a notification regarding an increase in gas prices and the government met a deadline of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to share the notification before Feb 15.

As per the notification, for consumers using up to 0.25 hundred cubic metres (hcm), the new tariff is Rs200 per mmbtu, which is an increase of 66 per cent; for up to 0.5hcm consumers the new rate is Rs250/mmbtu, a 67 per cent increase.

Allows extradition of dual national to Norway over terrorism charges

After an increase of 33 per cent, the consumers using up to 0.6hcm will have to pay Rs300/mmbtu while the consumer category of up to 0.9hcm witnessed a 29pc increase, with the new rate set at Rs350/mmbtu.

Non-protected category

For consumption up to 0.25hcm, the new rate will be Rs500/MMBTU (67 per cent increase); up to 0.6hcm category witnessed a 42pc hike, which is Rs850/mmbtu; and consumers using gas up to 1hmc will pay Rs 1250/mmbtu after a 25 per cent increase.

Similarly, there is a 21pc increase for the 1.5hcm category and the new rate is Rs1450/mmbtu whereas the consumer category using up to 2hcm will pay Rs1900/mmbtu after a 19pc increase.

Those using up to 3hcm will pay Rs3300/MMBTU after a 10pc whereas up to 4hcm usage will cost Rs3800/mmbtu after an 8.6 per cent increase. Those using above 4hmc will pay Rs4200/mmbtu after a 4.8 per cent.

The notification said the gas tariff for Engro Fertilizers Company Limited and Fauji Fertilizers Bin Qasim Limited Karachi have been increased by 715 per cent.

There will be no increase in the gas tariffs for ‘Roti Tandoor’, cement factories, cafes, bakeries, milk shops, tea stalls, canteens, barbers, laundries, hotels industry, malls, places of entertainment like cinemas, clubs, theatres, private offices corporate firms, ice factories, general industries.

Extradition of terror suspect

The cabinet also approved the appointment of Syed Tariq Muhammadul Hassan as the managing director of the Pakistan Baitul Maal.

On the recommendation of the Ministry of Commerce, the cabinet approved the transit/transfer of vehicle spare parts and new tires used by the Afghanistan Country Office under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) from Karachi to Kabul.

Furthermore, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Interior, the meeting approved the handing over of Irfan Qadir Bhatti, an accused with dual citizenship, to Norway.

The cabinet was told that the Norwegian government had alleged that Irfan Qadir was involved in terrorism. After an inquiry, the Islamabad additional deputy commissioner concluded that the accused was involved in terrorism and other illegal activities

The cabinet on the recommendation of the information ministry allowed the Pakistan Television Corporation to make payments to foreign broadcasters for the broadcasting rights of sports events.

On the recommendation of the Ministry of Defense Production, it approved the redeployment of grade-20 officer Khan Nawaz of the Secretariat Group as the member finance in the Heavy Industry Taxila.

The cabinet, on the recommendation of the finance ministry, approved the exemption of JS Bank’s sponsoring shareholder Shabbir Ahmed Randiri from Section (IV)(1)14 of the Banking Companies Ordinance. Under this exemption, Shabbir Ahmed will be able to exercise his voting rights in JS Bank Limited as a 7.06 per cent sponsoring shareholder.

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2024

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