The gas shortfall at two bcf per day, circular debt increasing: Mian Zahid Hussain

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Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said the problem of gas shortage in the country had not been solved in the last twenty years. Despite the continuous increase in the price of gas, the losses of this sector have increased to eighteen percent, and shortfall, theft and other losses are increasing, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that mismanagement in this important sector is on the rise, due to which the current winter will prove to be worst for the people and the business community.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the circular debt of the gas sector would soon cross the milestone of one trillion rupees.

He said the discovery of new gas reserves in the country is disappointing and plans to import gas from Iran and Turkmenistan are stalled. At the same time, LNG purchases have become impossible as international suppliers are focused on European due to profits.

Pakistan cannot compete with EU nations to get LNG, resulting in a crisis. Mian Zahid Hussain said that with the increasing population and industrial activities, the demand for gas in the country is also increasing, which is more than six billion cubic feet per day. In comparison, the production is only four billion cubic feet per day. Thus Pakistan needs additional two billion cubic feet of gas per day.

Despite the shortage of gas, new gas connections are being given on political grounds compounding the problem.

He said that to reduce the mismanagement in the gas sector, the supply of subsidized gas to the inefficient industrial units should be stopped while domestic, commercial, and industrial consumers should be immediately shifted to solar, wind, and LPG to improve the situation.

If gas is given only to efficient power plants and industrial units, other factories will be forced to improve their systems. At the same time, the subsidy burden on the taxpayers will also be reduced, he remarked.

The business leader noted that the rich are benefiting more from the subsidy on domestic gas as the poor mostly use LPG.

It is also important to consider the unpopular option of price revisions to reduce domestic gas consumption. Unless the gas sector is reformed through tough and out-of-the-box decisions, the problems of the public and the business community cannot be resolved.

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