Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has told the federal government that the persisting gas shortage in Sindh had not only badly affected the industrial sector, but its loadshedding, even during Ramazan, is also piling miseries on domestic consumers in the province, which produces over 62pc of the country’s gas.
In a meeting with Federal Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik on Thursday, he said that the total gas production of Pakistan stood at 3,358.21 MMCFD of which Sindh contributed/produced 62 to 63 per cent gas or 2,100-2,200 MMCFD, adding that the total demand in the province was 1,600-1,700 MMCFD.
Mr Shah said that the province was being supplied 1,400-1,500 MMCFD for all consumers though the gas surplus production from Sindh still stood at 600-700 MMCFD.
He regretted that Sindh was facing an acute gas shortage. The worst-ever loadshedding by the Sui Southern Gas Company has made people’s life miserable, especially in the holy fasting month, as no gas is being supplied before Sehri and Iftar in major cities such as Karachi and Hyderabad.
Says worst-ever cuts have piled miseries on domestic consumers, badly hit industrial sector
Unavailability of the natural gas has forced domestic consumers to either use wood or expensive LPG cylinders for cooking.
Mr Shah also pointed out that the provincial government had approved 1,000 village gasification schemes which had been pending with SSGC since 2010-11.
The federal state minister informed the chief minister that the total gas production in the country had been recorded at 3,200 MMCFD of which 200 MMCFD was consumed by the compressors operating in the field. “Out of the remaining 3,000 MMCFD, 1,400 MMCFD goes to the power and fertiliser sectors, and 1,600 MMCFD is supplied through pipes to the distribution companies,” he maintained.
The chief minister said that we would have to revisit our distribution policy so that the gas-producing province could get its maximum share. Mr Malik agreed to Mr Shah’s proposal and said that a committee was constituted to revisit the policy, frame proposals and discuss them in the next meeting.
Another issue the CM discussed with the visiting delegation, led by Musadik Malik, was the Weighted Average Cost of Gas (WACOG) policy under which the imported LNG and local gas are pooled in the same energy box, and then a tariff is imposed.
Mr Shah said that the policy was unconstitutional and would further burden consumers in Sindh and slow down the growth of economic activities.
He said that WACOG was not viable as long as Sindh had surplus gas. “Sindh’s preference to use gas in relation to other provinces is protected by Article 158 of the Constitution,” he said, and added that there should be zero loadshedding in the province as per the spirit of the Constitution.
Meeting with WB team
A delegation of the World Bank, headed by its country director, called on Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at CM House.
It was attended by provincial ministers and officials concerned. The meeting was informed that 20 projects of the World Bank were ongoing at a cost of US$3.5 billion. It also discussed the Karachi Mobility Project.
The CM told the WB team that the tender for the repair of Jam Sadiq Bridge and construction of a new bridge had been published.
He said that that the project for construction of houses for flood victims was in its final stage and consultants had been hired for the project.
The CM said that money would soon be released to the flood victims for the reconstruction of their destroyed houses.
Transport Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon told the meeting buses for the BRT Yellow Line would be procured and run under public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
He said that consultants had been hired to design the 10-km corridor of the BRT Yellow Line in the Phase-1 of the project.