PEW terms pipeline development greatest achievement of the Government

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday said inauguration of Pakistani portion of Iran gas pipeline, economically and strategically crucial for the future of our country, is the greatest achievement of the incumbent Government.

This historic decision, taken after a long delay, will help attract investment, provide jobs, and revive sliding economy while it has renewed hopes among dejected masses and business community reeling under severe energy crisis, it said.

The decision shows that Pakistan has decided to put its own interests ahead of the interests of all other nations and it is unwilling to sacrifice economy for the sake of the sole super power which has helped government gain global admiration, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

President Zardaris bold step will result in enhanced regional connectivity while balancing Pakistans relations with Iran and the Arab world to enhance our dignity among comity of nations, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that slapping sanctions on Pakistan is against US interests, as it will have negative impact on war on terror and make US withdrawal from Afghanistan difficult.

He said that that American apathy towards Islamabads economic compulsions resulted in rapid developments related to the project, which have surprised many independent observers.

US continued to offer costly and unviable solutions to Pakistans energy problems including TAPI but it refused to sign a Civil Nuclear Agreement as she did with India which was discrimination with an important ally, Dr. Murtaza Mughal noted.

The decision will go a long way in ensuring energy security for Pakistan and improve our energy mix heavily tilted towards oil.

He warned that Iranian gas will of little use if government failed to introduce power sector reforms, attracted investment in exploration and cull circular debt.

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Inefficient CPPs inflicts Rs 70 billion loss annually on country

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Saturday questioned the policy of providing cheap gas to captive power plants (CPPs) to gain political favours which is causing a loss of Rs 70 billion to the public exchequer per annum.

The technology, efficiency, cost, consumption, production, and other parameters related to the CPPs are questionable, as industry has been using scrap plants in place of modern and better equipment, said Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Chairman Supreme Council APCNGA.

The average efficiency of 113 CPPs, mostly installed in textile units, stands at 28 per cent meaning that they are wasting 72 per cent of the gas in the process of generating electricity, he said while speaking to APCNGAs central executive committee.

Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said that data of SSGC and SNGPL shows that CPPs are getting 454 mmcfd gas per day out of which 327 mmcfd is lost to inefficiency causing loss of around 19 crore per day.

Planning Commission and Ministry of Water and Power have termed primitive CPPs a major drain of indigenous hydrocarbon resources but to no avail, he said, adding that statements of crackdown against wasteful CPPs by ministry of petroleum is mere eyewash.

He said that government is pleasing owners of CPPs on the cost of domestic consumers, CNG, fertiliser and general industry. Many industries closed since long are being provided gas while the power generated through that gas is being sold to running industrial units without approval from Nepra which must be probed, he demanded.

He said that the silence of concerned departments on the issue is not only amazing but also criminal at a time when whole nation is reeling under power crisis.

The country would not have faced energy shortages of such magnitude if decision were taken on merit and the gas allocated to CPPs was provided to efficient power houses, he said.

Power generation companies are facing heavy losses as gas consumption as well as some 2000 mw load has been shifted to the unregulated gas gulping CPP sector which do not require a licence and have no performance and efficiency checks.

The policy has hiked operation and maintenance cost of the Discos, average tariff is going up while average sale declines causing losses to the government while CPPs thrive on economical gas and support of petroleum ministry.

Criticising the move to lower the efficiency benchmark for CPPs, Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha demanded a probe into the issue to fix responsibility on those who played havoc with the country for their personal welfare.

He demanded an immediate comprehensive and independent audit of captive power plants, banning Discos buying power from captives using cheap gas as fuel, and concrete steps to improve the efficiency and avoid wastage of precious natural resources in the national interest.

The government needs to increase gas price for CPPs by a minimum of 150 per cent to resolve all issues, ensure efficiency and reduce load shedding. There is a need for a well-integrated power policy which addresses the various issues to ensure an overall development of the sector and economy.

Govt’s will, ability to import Iran gas questioned

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) on Thursday voiced doubt over governments determination and ability to ensure import of Iranian gas through multi-billion-dollar pipeline.

Governments tall claims to relieve country of energy crisis by importing natural gas from Iran remained confined to statements for public consumption and they woke up to the issue days before assemblies are scheduled to be dissolved which has raised doubts among many, said Farida Rashid, President IWCCI.

She said that all the statements of leading politicians claiming to reject US pressure on pipeline are aimed at gaining popularity and add to the problems of the next government as Pakistan is ill prepared to afford US confrontation.

Why government did not initiate the project soon after coming to power which would have helped revive economy and why now everything is being done with an amazing speed, she questioned.

Farida Rashid said that US would never allow Iran to increase its presences, income and influence in the region. She do not want to see a stable Pakistan too, the president of the womens chamber added.

Many experts have rejected the tall claims of the government at a time when country is heading towards a default.

Pakistans balance of payment situation has become highly unstable, forex reserves are at unsatisfactory level while country cannot pay for imports for more than two months.

In such a situation when almost every sector of the economy is limping how can Pakistan avoid a minimum of 9-10 billion dollar loan from the IMF which can be provided only on the behest of US, said Farida Rashid.

Pakistan can never have reliable energy supply from Iran unless US stop looking at the project from a political angle and start considering it imperative for survival of Pakistan.

Farida said that handing over Gwadar port to China was a laudable decision that may have something to do with fresh wave of terror across the country.

APCNGA rejects ECC’s gas load management plan

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Tuesday rejected the gas load management plan approved by the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet terming it a short-sighted decision to inflict miseries on masses and threaten investments in the CNG sector on the behest of influential petroleum and liquid gas sectors.

The decision to keep Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) sector at the bottom of the priority list for provision of the natural gas is unacceptable which will be resisted and challenged at all forums, said Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Chairman Supreme Council APCNGA.

The gas load management plan has been designed keeping the interests of influential sectors in mind, least priority to the CNG sector means that general public will continue to wait for hours in long queues to get CNG, he said in a statement issued here today.

He said that the ECC controversial decision has threatened investments to the tune of Rs 400 billion in the CNG sector and devastate owners of 3.5 million people who are running their vehicles on the economical fuel.

He said that CNG sector has no option but natural gas to run their business while all other sectors using natural gas have other options available but they are addicted to subsidised gas.

These sectors are highly influential and they lend support to politicians during elections, said Paracha adding that conspiracy against masses would be foiled.

Demanding an inquiry into the conspiracies hatched by the petroleum ministry against CNG sector, Paracha said that the ECC decision is based on another summary moved by the concerned ministry which amounts to paving way for corruption to the tune of billions.

He said that a mafia wants to deprive masses of economical fuel which will trigger imports of petrol, LNG, and LPG which will open floodgates for inflation, unemployment, environmental degradation etc.

Paracha said that a lobby want to destroy gas infrastructure to flood country with costly fuel while government quarters are eying kick back to the tune of billions in such deals in which LPG-air mix deal is included.

He called upon the masses to unite and take part in protests by CNG operators to foil the designs of politicians against general public and country.

Paracha also asked the Chief Justice Pakistan to take note of the conspiracies aimed at personal prosperity at the cost of economy and country.

Reopening of CNG outlets demanded as weather normalises

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Friday said weather intensity has been reduced therefore all the CNG filling stations across the country should be reopened.

The extreme weather which had heated up demand for natural gas has normalised which call for immediate revisit of the CNG schedule, it said.

The closure of CNG outlets has taken toll on masses, transport sector and economy which must be realised at earliest, said Abid Hayat, Central Chairman APCNGA.

In a statement issued here today he said that the CNG crisis has shut transport sector, left millions jobless while additional imports of petrol is putting additional strain on forex reserves which are already below the satisfactory level.

The CNG closure has also stoked inflation, eroded currency and disturbed budget of middleclass while the man on the street has been hard hit, he added.

Abid Hayat said that Adviser to the PM on Petroleum Dr. Asim had promised to reopen all CNG stations on Jan 21st according to the former timetable which must be implemented.

He said that all the CNG outlets which have been closed by gas utility companies should also be reopened.

Mr. Hayat said that uninterrupted supply of gas to CNG filling stations will relieve masses, transport sector and the owners of the outlets facing acute uncertainty and that we will be highly thankful to Dr. Asim.

He said that energy shortages in the country call for expediting exploration of hydrocarbons and providing incentives as well as security to the investors.

APCNGA rejects ECC’s LPG-air mix decision

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Thursday rejected the recent decision of the ECC to mix air in the LPG and pump it in the gas pipelines to reduce gas shortages.

The move is against national interests which is a conspiracy to benefit few influential which will deprive masses of Rs 60 billion annually, said Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Chairman Supreme Council APCNGA.

He said that implementation of the controversial decision will hike cost of doing business and leave our products uncompetitive in the international markets which will put additional strain on forex reserves and amplify trade deficit.

The decision will result in closure of thousands of businesses, unemployment and law and order issues, he added.

Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said that decision taken despite resistance of Ogra will hike cost of gas by ten per cent which will jack up price of roti as well as cost of living which will drive millions more below the poverty line.

Leader of the CNG sector said that a massive scandal is in the making and Supreme Court to take note of the development to safeguard the interests of masses before it is too late.

Lashing out at the Adviser to the PM on Petroleum Dr, Asim Hussian, he said that he seems just interested in promoting mafias and pointing towards problems but has failed miserably to resolve anything owing to lack of interest and basic knowledge.

He said that the LPG-air mix decision is result of lack of understanding of the decision makers or they were simply interested in promoting the interests of few on the cost of while nation which merits a probe.

He said that direct use of LPG will be more economical while mixing it in the pipeline will hike its cost more that the furnace oil.

No country in the world outside Argentina is using air-mix plants as it is the costliest solution of gas shortages in presence of the cost-effective ways out.

Raising questions over the pace of implementation of the decision he said that APCNGA rejects the governments claim that the decision will not burden domestic consumers.

CNG operators to open outlets unilaterally if demands not met: Paracha

Lahore, MTT News Desk: Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Chairman Supreme Council of the All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Thursday asked the government to restore gas supply to the CNG filling stations within two or three days otherwise we will have no option but to open outlets without consent of authorities

Speaking to a protest rally at Thokar Niaz Baig, Lahore, which was part of the nationwide protest demonstrations against CNG closure and objectionable policies, Paracha said that staff of the CNG filling stations has no food to eat and nothing to cater for the needs of their families since months.

Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said that we cannot cooperate with government anymore on the cost of massive losses; governments reluctance to bring gas load shedding to an end amounts to forcing us to take law into our own hands.

The leader of the CNG sector said that government is trying to sabotage the long march of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri by creating scarcity of diesel and CNG. Gas has been suspended despite improvement in the weather conditions which proves ill intentions.

Earlier, the protestors blocked the Motorway link road, burned tyres and chanted slogans against illegal load shedding. The protestors included CNG operators, unemployed workers of CNG outlets, drivers, transporters, private vehicle owners and masses who are braving gas supply disruptions at homes.

The protestors were led by APCNGA leaders Captain (retd) Shuja, Majid Ansari, Irfan Ghouri, Samiuddin, Alim Butt. Rickshaw Union was represented by Majeed Ghouri and Baghi Khan while transporters were represented by Khokar Group.

The protestors condemned load shedding and unjust distribution of gas and termed it against the rights of masses. They demanded immediate removal of Dr. Asim, adviser to PM on energy due to his controversial decisions and changes in the CNG policy.

The adviser has left millions of workers in CNG stations and workshops jobless while investments in the CNG sector to the tune of Rs400 billion are at stake, they said.

Transporters said that they cannot meet the expanses in current fare while using expansive imported fuel therefore will be side-by-side with APCNGA in every protest.

APCNGA says energy crisis engineered to meet objectives

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Friday said that on-going CNG crisis is artificial which has been engineered to boost imports of petrol, LPG and LNG to benefit certain lobbies on the cost of the country.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain is behind the energy crisis which has crippled economy; he is biggest block in resolution of crisis therefore he should resign immediately, said Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Chairman Supreme Council APCNGA.

Speaking at a press conference, here today, he said that government is not trying to stop theft of gas gaining new proportions but destroying CNG sector to meet their unholy objectives.

Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said that CNG sector has no alternative to operate therefore gas load shedding should be stopped, gas prices and taxes should be brought at par with other gas-consuming sectors otherwise APCNGA will start a protest movement from January 8th.

Later another peaceful demonstration will be carried out in Islamabad in which transporters and masses will also participate.

Transporters and consumers would also join hands with CNG operators to get their rights protected, he underscored.

The leader of the CNG sector said that politicians and bureaucracy is directly involved in the longest CNG crisis in the countrys history. They have made life miserable for 180 million people for personal welfare.

These elements are getting controversial policies approved and promoting influential sectors who would not pay proper taxes but lend support during upcoming elections.

Government had wicked objectives since the Supreme Court took note of the CNG issue; they delayed resolution of the problem for two and a half months under the pretext of policy guidelines and later came up with idea to close CNG filling stations, ban use of economical fuel in private vehicles and introduce costly liquid gasses.

The top officials also conspired to create gulf between CNG sector and masses while their objectionable decision have so far resulted in losses to the tune of billions to CNG station owners, tax collection mechanism and poor masses, he informed.

The ECC sub-committee formed to hammer out the issue was not allowed to work and later they were forced to announce a pricing that was not sustainable, he said.

Paracha said that government want to divert attention of masses from their failures by keeping them busy and confused. It also wants to promote petroleum, LPG and LNG mafias, justify purchase of a scrap LPG terminal on inflated rates.

He said that a mafia is calling the shots which have systematically removed patriotic and honest elements from petroleum ministry and related departments to ensure uninterrupted corrupt practices.

The energy crisis would have been resolved earlier has the adviser, who is a Canadian national focused on its resolution but unfortunately he run on all cylinders to destroy CNG sector hurting millions, he added.

A just and legal distribution of natural gas would have saved a lot of foreign exchange presently being wasted on addition petroleum imports.

Dr. Asim is behind to flight of multinational oil and gas companies from Pakistan therefore he should be immediately relieved and made to act as a doctor in his hospital only.

He asked as to why Dr. Asim has become a party in gas theft sheltering the corrupt; why he has never taken ECC or Cabinet into gas load shedding schedule, and why he is providing gas to captive power plants running on 20 per cent efficiency while Cabinet members say that gas can be best utilised by providing it to efficient power producing units which will end the crisis.

Paracha further said that Dr. Asim should come up with a clarification for forcing companies to appoint local agents of his choice for Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project which delayed the whole matter.

Why Byco is being exempted from tax for 20 years, why all refiners are being forced to open LCs with PSO and what was wisdom behind Bakri Oil which has resulted in a NAB probe.

He said that the adviser is forcing PSO to step into LPG business, over pricing low BTU gas to $ 9 and how come new companies announced injecting additional gas after announcement of Petroleum Policy 2012 which was previously held back.

The energy ministry extorted Rs 500 billion from masses and spent billions over IP, TAPI, LNG import with no results which is one of the biggest scam of the nations history.

Paracha said why Dr. Asim is holding meetings with textile and urea sector which does not fall under the ambit of his ministry while ignoring CNG stakeholders who are directly related to the job entrusted on him by the incumbent democratic government.

IWCCI suggests scrapping controversial GIDC

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) on Sunday said that Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) should be abolished as it has failed to meet the stated objectives.

Supreme Court should review legal and constitutional position of the fee to provide relief to masses and the business community, said President IWCCI Farida Rashid.

Speaking to business community, she said that Parliament passed the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess Act 2011 in November last year and imposed it on January 12th 2012 while rates were revised upward on July 1st.

Farida Rashid said that masses were told that the levy will help settle energy crisis as the money raised will be used to finance import of gas from Iran and Turkmenistan and establishing infrastructure to import LNG.

However, the ministry of petroleum could not initiate anything concrete to prefer to depend on statements and claims which has left the surcharge useless.

Funds are being collected to the tune of billions of rupees per month while there is no progress on the ground which has resulted in some 5000 law suits in courts filed by individuals, manufacturers, and businessmen associations, she informed.

Those who have moved courts have not only faced hike in cost of doing business but they also fear that their money will not be used for the purpose for which the tax is being raised.

Farida Rashid said that some estimates suggest that government has so far collected around 86 billion rupees and masses have a right to know who is spending this amount and for what motive.

The cess has substantially pushed cost of doing business at a time when businesses desperately need to stay competitive in the region and the rest of the world, she said.

Farida Rashid suggested that the tax should be scrapped or its utilisation should not be left to petroleum ministry only to ensure early removal of gas shortages which will also help create jobs, end defaults, stop closures, invite fresh investments and revive exports.

US influence emerges as major threat to Pakistan’s economy

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said that American influence in Pakistan has reached to a limit where national dignity, sovereignty and interests are being compromised without considering the outcome.

Pak-Iran gas pipeline, one of the most vital and long-delayed projects necessary for the survival of the country has been abandoned ending hopes of revival of shambling economy, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that the project to meet ever-increasing energy requirements stands quitted on the dictation of Washington which is another example of compromising national interests to please others.

The sudden and unexpected cancellation of visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to Tehran where he was supposed to seal a final gas deal with his counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad is unfortunate.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that cancellation of the visit without bothering to give any explanation and silence of opposition over the issue is shameful.

He said that declining Iranian offer to provide $500 million to complete the pipeline while happily accepting US suggestion to make available $200 million for construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam is something which will never go down well with masses.

Pakistan will start paying Iran $ 200 million monthly to Iran whether it received any gas or not for which the incumbent government will be sole responsible, he said.

Pakistan has sacrificed everything to support US which is against our national interests; he said adding that it is tragic that government has once again proved that we are unable to safeguard our interests.

There is no justification for turning back from a project that was in advance stages of implementation, he observed.

Rejecting the statement of spokesman of foreign office over Presidents visit, Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that now country depends on the US assistance even for maintenance of tube wells and electricity meters which supports the belief that Pakistan is a collapsing state fallen in US the trap.

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