APP41-29 ISLAMABAD: September 29 - SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar addressing during inauguration of first private LNG import by UGDC under Government of Pakistan initiative of integrating private sector for mitigating gas crises. APP photo by Irshad Sheikh

ISLAMABAD, Sep 29 (APP):Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar on Tuesday said the petroleum sector had the potential to increase the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate by 2-3 percent.

“During the last year, the country’s total tax collection stood at around Rs 4,000 billion, out of which Rs 1,000 billion were contributed by the petroleum sector in the form of indirect taxes,” he said while addressing the launching ceremony of first-ever private sector LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) import under the government’s initiative.

“Alone the petroleum sector has the potential to increase the GDP growth rate by 2-3 percent. Six public sector companies have one-third shares in the Pakistan Stock Exchange,” he said.

The SAPM underlined the need for opening up the petroleum sector for the private sector and taking all corrective measures for uplift of the national economy.

He said the government was pursuing a policy of competitiveness among players of both public and private sectors, especially in gas, electricity and oil related fields, ending the monopoly of public sector departments.

Nadeem Babar recalled that 20 years ago, Pakistan’s banking and telecom sectors were passing through a crisis, but when they were deregulated, they started delivering.
Now, their [banking and telecom sectors] performance could be compared with the public sector departments, which were running at a high cost of service, facing supply shortages and giving poor quality services.

“Being policymakers, we are thinking about availability, affordability and sustainability of different commodities from the financial point of view,” he said.

The SAPM said the government believed that private entrepreneurs should be encouraged in the energy sector as it would help create an environment of competition among all the players, besides ensuring better services at affordable rates for the consumers.

He said the government should only provide those facilities to the public, which were not being extended by the private sector.

Nadeem Babar said the consumers had the right to get better services at competitive rates, while the private sector should invest in diverse fields to give a boost to economic activities for the benefit of both the consumers and the investors.

Whereas, he said, it was the prime responsibility of the regulator to ensure a fair play so that some black sheep could not ‘abuse’ the consumers by making unfair profit.

The SAPM said Prime Minister Imran Khan had a vision to extend maximum facilities to the private sector in all fields through ease-of-doing-business initiative so that they could do a good business under effective regulation and improved governance.

He said the task of opening up the LNG sector had been completed by 90-95 percent and the remaining would be achieved soon.

He said the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited and the Sui Southern Gas Company had been asked to improve their efficiency as now they would have to compete with private players in the coming days.

He said the government would fully support the Universal Gas Distribution Company that wanted to import its first LNG cargo in November.