No violation of constitution, 18th amendment in gas supply: Shahid Khaqan

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ISLAMABAD Jan 30 (APP): Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday informed National Assembly that no provision of the constitution or the 18th amendment was being violated in supply of natural gas to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The government is fully abiding by constitutional provisions in gas supply to KP.
No portion of gas produced in KP is being provided to other areas. The shortage is due to gap in demand and supply,he said in response to a question during Question Hour.
The minister informed there is moratorium on new gas schemes since 2011 (the PPPP government) and when any new scheme comes from members, it is referred to cabinet for approval.
“The scheme approved by the Cabinet are executed accordingly”, he remarked.
He categorically stated that there is no planned load shedding of gas in KP and shortage of gas in respective areas is due to gap in demand and supply and the gas provided to CNG stations.
“There is a problem due to CNG stations. If there is consensus to close down CNG stations for two months the situation will improve substantially. But, we cannot do it unilaterally due to stay orders by the Peshawar High Court’,he said.
He added that during the present government’s tenure, 1.6 million new consumers have been added to system. But, gas shortage is not that much as compared to previous years and during next winter the situation would further improve.
Shahid Khaqan, in response to a supplementary question said, “if we see the gas issue in local perspective, the demand is double than gas supplied from local resources. This gap is being filled with imported gas as this gas is available in the market and anybody can purchase. “On our end we have provided this gas to fertilizers sector, power stations and CNG stations”.
He said earlier Pakistan used to import one million tone fertilizers but with availability of imported gas Pakistan is exporting fertilizers while power load shedding has also diminished. “There is also no bar on provinces in utilizing imported gas and any province desiring to use this gas can purchase it from open market”, he remarked.
The minister said, prices at CNG stations have been deregulated and now there is competition between the petroleum and CNG prices.
However, due to CNG stations we receive complaints about low pressure from the areas where CNG stations have been installed. Moreover, if there is any complaint of gas shortage due to CNG stations, the problem is resolved through Sui Southern Gas Company Limited.
He said the quantum of taxes for different categories varies depending on consumption by each sector. The taxes of RLNG are less as compared to domestically produced gas due to price differential that has encouraged importers and helped address gas shortage.
Answering another question, the minister said, natural gas tariff for textile sector is notified at Rs 600 per MMBTU uniformly across the country.
He said SNGPL has proposed establishment of Mardan as an independent region with a requirement of addition budget worth Rs 264 million and OGRA in its ‘Determination of Estimated Revenue Requirement of FY- 2016-17 has accorded approval of Rs 51 million (half of the proposed budget) against capital budget. Therefore, the proposed Mardan region cannot be operated without sufficient capital, revenue and human resource budget.