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Thursday February 29, 2024

Gas prices raised under IMF pressure: minister

The minister ruled out concerns of Iran regarding investment of Saudi Arabia in Gwadar. He said that Pakistan had taken different initiatives to bring peace and security in the region and was ready to play the role of mediator between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

February 16, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Friday said the government had raised the prices of gas following pressure of the IMF and announced to revise the existing slabs to address the issue of inflated gas bills for domestic consumers that led to countrywide protest against the PTI government.

However, the government had faced a pressure of the IMF to increase the prices of gas in January but they were increased later. He said that inquiry relating to inflated gas bills is underway and the government had decided to review gas prices slabs to cut prices for gas consumers.

He said Pakistan is playing a pivotal role in bringing peace and stability to the region for which it is facilitating Afghan Taliban talks with the US and also ready to play the role as mediator between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The minister ruled out concerns of Iran regarding investment of Saudi Arabia in Gwadar. He said that Pakistan had taken different initiatives to bring peace and security in the region and was ready to play the role of mediator between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan played a key role for negotiations between US and Afghan Taliban and next

round of talks would be held in Islamabad on February 18 soon after visit of crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. He said this is first step towards bringing peace in the region and in next step Pakistan wants to play a role of mediator between Iran and Saudi Arabia. He also pledged to play role of mediator between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Security situation in Pakistan had also improved a lot and therefore different countries were interested to make multibillion dollars investment, he said. He said that Saudi Arabia was going to invest over $10 billion in setting up oil refinery and petrochemical complex.

The minister said that by establishment of the refinery and petrochemical complex, Pakistan would save up to $1.2 billion a year. He further said that British Airways is going to resume its services to Pakistan in June 2019, and the government is also in talks with the other major airlines including Air France.

He added Saudi Arabia has no security concerns particularly in Balochistan to make multibillion dollars investment in refinery, minerals and renewable sectors. Minister said that 10 agreements would be signed during visit of crown prince Muhammad Bin Salman who is coming to Pakistan today (Saturday). Petroleum Division would sign two agreements relating to oil and minerals. KP and Balochistan had given their consents to sign MoU for investment of Saudi Arabia in mineral sector.

When asked regarding demand of review in LNG prices with Qatar, he said that government wanted to move ahead to improve bilateral relations with Qatar. He said that NAB was investigating the issue and let it decide.

However, Qatar had agreed to increase volume of LNG exports. He said that negotiations with Qatar were under way to extend LNG credit facility and he would visit Qatar by end of this month.

He said that Qatar was under influence of India in past and therefore Pakistani manpower could not get visa to migrate to Qatar for employment. Now, he said Qatar had agreed to import Pakistani skilled manpower.

Saudi Arabia had also expressed interest to invest in LNG sector in Pakistan and also in energy storages. Replying to a question, he said that government was conducting a study about requirement of gas for different sectors in Pakistan. Keeping in view gas requirement for the country, he said that government would sign LNG deal on government to government basis to import LNG. He further said that private sector also wanted to set up terminals and import LNG and government would facilitate them. He also said that Petroleum Division wanted to raise its security force to protect installations of gas companies in a bid to reduce dependence on law enforcement agencies.