Sunday September 26, 2021

Rs15b loss suffered on purchase of nine LNG cargoes

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who is also the Secretary General of the opposition’s 11-parties alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), on Friday disputed the contention of the energy adviser of the federal government on LNG purchases and said that the LNG ships would be available on cheaper rates if you buy it sooner. It’s not possible that you open tenders in December and LNG will be available in January. “It’s simply impossible,” he declared. He regretted that the national exchequer had suffered a loss of Rs15 billion on the purchase of nine ships and following an inappropriate method as the government had purchased ships on higher rates.

Shahid Abbasi, who served as the petroleum and natural sources federal minister under Nawaz Sharif, claimed that the shipment for winter could be acquired on Brent 10 percent but now it had been procured on 17pc Brent. The failure of the government in placing orders earlier by the official concerned has inflicted a loss of Rs15 billion, he claimed.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi recalled that the government had struck a deal with the company which was earlier termed by the government as corrupt and of thieves. Now the government has entered into a deal with the same company and unfortunately the people who managed the cheapest deal for the country in the past have been placed in the dock. The former prime minister said in a lighter vein that he was prepared to give Talim-e-Balghan (class of adults) to impart education to the government about the energy deal on cheaper rates in just an hour. He said that the country needs 12 ships of LNG every month and as soon as you go tendering, you would get relatively cheaper LNG.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asked the Petroleum Ministry that how much amount it had been paying for the terminal. Some ministers are falsely crying foul that excessive payments are made to the terminal, but the federal minister concerned must explain that how much saving is made by using LNG in place of diesel in his power plant. “If the minister doesn’t come out with the truth, I would disclose the secret in a day or two.” He wondered that the savings on running the plant of the minister were more than the overall payment made on the LNG terminal. As the opposition parties have ignored the reshuffle in the federal cabinet and declined to offer any comment about the development, terming it as “non-event” and maintaining that it wouldn’t have any consequence, Abbasi reminded sarcastically that the portfolio of the finance minister had been delegated to the imported adviser who had “successfully” ruined the economy of the country in two years. “Be kind to the country and spare sometime for planning and thinking before taking any action. The people sitting at the helm of affairs have inflicted loss of billions in the energy sector,” he pointed out to the mentors of the government.

Without taking the name of any minister, the opposition stalwart said that the person who couldn’t run the railways, has been assigned to run the interior affairs. The kid who failed in all subjects has been given the railways as a toy to play with it.

The PML-N leader said that the changes made in the federal cabinet on Friday had annoyed the PTI members of parliament who expressed anguish on assigning important portfolios to outsiders by disregarding the party’s members. They are of the view that the changes have been brought about on the external instructions. The former prime minister, who is also the Senior Vice President of PML-N, made it clear that the public meeting will take place in Lahore tomorrow come what may. The government can go for registration of as many cases it likes but nothing could hinder the public meeting at the historic Minar-e-Pakistan. “The resignations from the assemblies would be the last step and all the parties are united on this point. They are prepared for the ultimate step,” he added.