LAHORE: All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Chairman Syed Ali Ahsan has urged the government to direct Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) to remove unjustified arrears from consumer gas bills and sort out issues of subsidy and late payment surcharge with the government.
Addressing a press conference, Ahsan revealed that SNGPL had issued bills at full re-gasified liquefied natural gas (LNG) tariff of Rs1,798.32 per million British thermal units (mmbtu) for June 2019.
He also said the Ministry of Finance, through an office memorandum, had advised that average exchange rate of an entire month should be taken into account while calculating consumer bills, however, SNGPL used the higher exchange rate, which was not understandable.
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) had announced, in its meeting dated September 27, 2018, a regionally competitive gas tariff for five zero-rated sectors ie $6.5 per mmbtu with effect from October 16, 2018. It also accorded second priority to the five zero-rated sectors in the gas allocation and management policy. He said the Lahore High Court (LHC), vide its order dated May 2, 2019, directed SNGPL to issue gas bills on the 10th of every month after receipt of subsidy from the government but the company was working contrary to the court order.
The official added that the industry was unable to understand the stance of SNGPL, which was contradicting the government policy aimed at enabling the industry to lift the economy by providing regionally competitive energy ie gas at $6.5 per mmbtu.
He said the industry in other provinces was getting gas at Rs600 per mmbtu while in Punjab the industry was entitled to receive gas at $6.5 per mmbtu, equivalent to Rs1,040. However, SNGPL has been issuing bills at the full RLNG tariff since March 2019.
The association leader voiced concern that the export industry had not booked any orders in the last seven days whereas domestic textile sales had halted due to uncertainty. Therefore, the mills would not be in a position to pay bills.
He said the industry was still awaiting the gas pricing mechanism, which would be applied from July 1, 2019. “Owing to the gas pricing uncertainty, the industry is reluctant to take any new investment decisions.”
The Aptma chairman appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to listen to the complaints of industrialists in order to address their issues and let them contribute to economic uplift of the country in line with his vision.