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CNG prices in Pakistan highest in region

The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) has demanded the government to bring down prices of compressed natural gas (CNG) in Pakistan in line with other countries, as it is highest in the region, according to a statement on Tuesday.

“CNG prices in Pakistan should match other countries where buying power of the people is more or less the same,” said Ghayas Paracha, chairman of the Supreme Council of APCNGA.

“Decisions affecting the CNG sector are not taken on merit but on the whims of the powerful oil lobby, which wants to boost its business,” he added.

The CNG sector needed immediate attention of authorities as billions have been invested in this sector and 3.5 million cars have been converted, while millions were directly and indirectly employed in this sector, he said.

Gas is an indigenous resource, which is economical and clean as compared to the imported fuels, which are costly and unfriendly to the environment.

Paracha said that CNG price in Thailand is 76.70 percent less as compared to price of petrol. Similarly, in Bangladesh, CNG is available at 68.61 percent less price than petrol, Indonesia 51.65 percent and in India it is 58.84 percent of the cost of petrol.

“Several countries, including India and Bangladesh don’t have any indigenous substitute for gasoline; they lack proper gas infrastructure but they sell CNG at low price as compared to Pakistan,” said Paracha.

As a policy, the United States and several European Union (EU) countries are promoting use of gas to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels due to uncertainty in supply chain, volatility in prices and to save foreign exchange, he said, adding that several countries are doing away with expensive liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) but here the CNG sector is being closed to boost import of costly fuels.

Total consumption of CNG in Pakistan is not more than eight percent and yet the sector is paying more taxes as against any other sector consuming gas, said Paracha, adding that still the sector is being victimised.

He said that before 2002, there was a ban on running thermal power plants on CNG. It was Musharraf’s era when the country started running power stations on clean fuel despite scarcity.

This decision resulted in depletion of precious gas reserves, which took toll on the economy, deprived industry of economical fuel and contributed to rapid environmental degradation, he added. The government can consider reversing that decision, suggested Paracha.

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