ISLAMABAD: As the consumers continue to suffer from the continued strike by CNG station owners, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) on Monday recommended a ban on use of CNG in private cars.
OGRA put forward its recommendations to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources on Monday, saying only rickshaws, taxis and public buses should be allowed to run on CNG, while all private cars should be transferred to petrol.The committee agreed with the recommendations and said a six-month deadline should be given to private car owners to switch their cars from CNG to petrol. The committee, requesting the CNG Association to reopen stations, assured that the tax tariff of stations and other industries would be made uniform. Committee chairman Jamshed Dasti told reporters that a uniform tax would ensure that the CNG stations did not run into losses and prices were also not raised.
“We have asked the CNG association to reopen 400 stations which have been closed down,” Dasti said. The OGRA recommendations would be forwarded to the Supreme Court as well. Earlier in the day, the CNG station owners and dealers held the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources responsible for creating chaos across the country, calling its measures a conspiracy against dealers and the masses in order to achieve their own agendas. In an emergency press conference, Abdul Sami Khan, the CNG Dealers Association chairman, said CNG station owners and dealers would fight for the cause of their business and interest of masses until the attainment of their objectives and would not bow down against the ministry and authorities that were manipulating the retail cost at the expense of CNG fillers.
The dealers said they were ready to face litigation as they had appointed a lawyer to fight their case in the Supreme Court during the upcoming hearing on December 5. “But we will not accept any backdoor policy of the government to close the entire industry through legislation in line with their motives,” Khan said.The deduction of Rs 30 per kg in CNG price had been presented wrongly to the court by the ministry, despite the fact that independent government auditors had evaluated the operational cost and presented their findings to OGRA.
Khan said CNG dealers could not operate on hefty losses and they were liable to shut their business as far as laws of business were concerned, but they were forced to operate in losses and detained in jails. “We demand a justified profit should be given to us, because no one can run a business of loss,” he added.Abid Uzair, executive member of the CNG Station Owners Association, said the business of CNG was not viable at the current retail cost because the expenses of stations were too high compared with that portrayed in the media.
The profit has been fixed at Rs 4.95 per kg for CNG stations situated in Region 1 and Rs 6.04 per kg for Region 2 after the prices of CNG were quoted at Rs 61.64 per kg and Rs 54.16 per kg to the court by the Petroleum Ministry. Comparing CNG tariff with other sectors, he said the CNG station owners paid Rs 618.55 per mmbtu for natural gas, while the fertilizer, IPPs and industrial sectors were provided gas at Rs 116.27 per mmbtu, Rs 460 per mmbtu and Rs 460 per mmbtu, respectively. Uzair said CNG sector’s consumption of gas was low compared to all other sectors at 9.42 percent.
Meanwhile, All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) Chairman Ghiyas Paracha said the energy bureaucracy had deliberately complicated the simple issue of CNG pricing after the landmark decision of the Supreme Court (SC) in a bid to deprive masses of economical fuel, reward influential sectors and pave way for additional imports of costly fossil fuel. “The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), independent auditors and parliamentarians have accepted that current retail price of CNG is not only unsustainable but the nation is being misguided regarding excessive profit margins of CNG operators,” Paracha said.
He rejected decisions and statements regarding imposing additional taxes on CNG operators, barring private vehicle owners from buying CNG, closing down filling stations for two months during winter, cancellation of licences of stations using extra gas, reducing operational cost to zero and closing down 400 CNG stations.Paracha said, “We are also Pakistanis, we have a right to live and we will never compromise on interests of masses.” – PT