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September 10, 2020

Imran wants long-term plan to handle ‘imminent’ gas shortages

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APP
September 10, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday natural gas sector was facing imminent challenges of resource shortage and circular debt and called for a long-term strategy to address the issues.

Speaking at a seminar on “Sustainability, security and affordability of natural gas supply in Pakistan”, the Prime Minister said long-term planning on national matters was more important than the approach adopted by previous governments of short-term steps to appease voters.

The seminar, organised by Petroleum Division to deliberate on the issues related to gas sector, witnessed a strong participation by provinces with corporate heads and experts joining the platform for a meaningful discourse for a way forward.

The Prime Minister said the country had started facing the problem of shortage of natural gas with the situation getting worse in winter season.

With the depletion of indigenous gas reserves, he added, it was becoming difficult for the country to rely on expensive imported commodity due to big difference in rates.

He expressed concern that after electricity, the gas sector was also experiencing circular debts and warned of its snowball effect in future.

The Premier said only 27 per cent of Pakistanis were getting piped gas, while the rest of population depended on other resources like liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). He mentioned that he was also among those using LPG, which cost four times as compared to the piped supply of subsidised natural gas.

Khan said the main reason for giving subsidy to any sector was either to uplift down-trodden or create wealth to ultimately increase gross domestic product (GDP). He, however, regretted that in Pakistan majority of subsidies were being given to the already stable and sound sectors, while the wealth generated was being diverted to payment of debts.

He said there would have been no shortage of resources and burden on common people had the country started planning 40 years ago to meet its energy demands.