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January 22, 2020

‘Closure of CNG pumps put 300,000 jobs at risk’

Business

January 22, 2020

KARACHI: The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Tuesday demanded the government to allow opening of CNG stations round the clock as the closure of these stations had put 300,000 jobs at risk.

Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, APCNGA chairman said reopening of CNG stations in Punjab and Sindh for only 12 hours is not acceptable. “CNG stations remained open in winter during the last five years, but this winter business was closed, which was unjustified,” Paracha said in a statement.

He said CNG stations in Punjab and Sindh have not even worked for forty hours in the last 40 days that has affected 0.3 million jobs. “The move to shut down CNG business increases oil import bill and results in substantial loss to the CNG operators, while the government loses sizable revenue.”

Paracha said closure of CNG stations also added to urban pollution; therefore, gas companies should immediately open CNG stations in Punjab and Sindh for non-stop operations.

He said the CNG stations of Punjab switched to costly RLNG over assurances of continued supply, and deposited billions in advance with the government, but to no avail. Sindh had its own gas, but the CNG stations were still closed which was unconstitutional and caused restlessness among CNG operators and masses. Paracha said closure of CNG stations resulted in gas sector circular debt as gas was diverted to domestic consumers and sectors getting the utility at economical rates.

“Circular debt is covered by frequent upward revisions in the gas tariff which damages the economy and masses are made to pay for it while it also increases public transport fares resulting in higher inflation.” At present, several parts of Pakistan are facing low gas pressure or zero supply situation with a drop in the temperatures across the country.

Different sectors of economy such as power plants, CNG stations, fertiliser plants and textile mills are facing huge production losses due to the gas shortage and the country could lose valuable foreign exchange as export orders may not be completed.