The government has raised the price of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), making it far dearer than petrol. Apparently, the decision was also prompted by surging LNG prices, which are projected to hold firm amid tight supply-demand fundamentals.
Pakistan is considered one of the largest users of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in the world. Today, CNG in Pakistan has become more expensive than petrol and it has become difficult for the citizens to drive.
MM News spoke to Chairman All Pakistan CNG Forum and former Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on CNG Shabir Suleman about the rising CNG prices.
MM News: Why have the majority of people in Pakistan shifted to CNG from fuel oil?
Shabir Suleman: In 1992, the then-government promoted CNG in-country for three main reasons: first to reduce the trade deficit; second to prevent pollution, and third to provide cheap fuel to the lower class.
MM News: Why are CNG prices constantly increasing in Pakistan?
Shabir Suleman: The PTI-led federal government is currently importing RLNG due to a shortage of CNG in Pakistan and also provided various incentives to CNG station owners to switch to RLNG. A month later, the government abolished the incentives and imposed taxes, which pushed the price of CNG.
MM News: Why do CNG sellers raise objections when govt reduces prices?
Shabir Suleman: Several allegations are leveled against our community but the fact is that we never objected to lowering prices. On the contrary, we have reduced our profits several times and provided relief to the people. The truth is CNG prices never reduced after going up. And the seller, who has built the station by spending millions of rupees, often charges different prices to cover the losses due to low sales.
MM News: What difficulties is the CNG sector facing now?
Shabir Suleman: The current situation is worse. CNG prices are increasing day by day and the majority are shifting their vehicles back to petrol. In the last two years, the CNG sector is running on ventilators. We are just trying to save our business.
MM News: What is the truth behind allegations of excessive gas consumption in CNG sector?
Shabir Suleman: Sindh is the largest gas-producing province in Pakistan but gas prices and supply are not in this regard. In the past, CNG consumption in Pakistan was 90 mmcfd and today it is less than 20 mmcfd.
It accounts for about one percent of the country’s production. However, despite advance payment and taxes, gas is not supplied to the CNG sector due to which thousands of CNG stations in the country have been closed.
MM News: Does CNG really damage the car’s engine?
Shabir Suleman: Such reports are false. The fact is that CNG is a better and more useful fuel than petrol but the car is damaged due to poor kit, which is credited to the use of CNG. The damage is due to a substandard kit. The engine will never break down if you use a standard kit.
MM News: How useful is CNG for the environment?
Shabir Suleman: CNG is called an environmental fuel, the use of CNG has reduced respiratory diseases in the country and it is an excellent fuel to prevent environmental pollution. While steps are being taken to reduce environmental pollution in Pakistan, the CNG sector had also had a huge role in this regard.
MM News: Who should be held responsible for CNG cylinders’ explosions in vehicles?
Shabir Suleman: Unfortunately, when something becomes more common in Pakistan, the check and balance on it disappear. Such incidents only occur when people use substandard cylinders. Today there are hundreds of cylinder makers in every street of the country but their quality will be poor.
MM News: Are OGRA and other agencies responsible for problems faced by CNG sector?
Shabir Suleman: The gas crisis is the incompetence of the government, there are obstacles in solving the problems due to lack of communication between the institutions, the solution to all the problems is one window operation.