Islamabad, September 18: Imran Khan-led Pakistan government has increased the gas prices on Mondays up to 143 percent to recover Rs 94 billion from the consumers. The government has slashed consumer subsidies that were a fiscal drag on the government’s budget. The decision to increase the gas prices for both household and commercial consumers was taken by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Monday. After the meeting, Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan announced the decision of the committee.
Addressing the media Khan said, “The ECC allowed raise in the gas prices for domestic consumers in the range of 10 per cent for the lowest slab consumers to 143 per cent for the highest slab domestic consumers.” The increase in prices will be implemented in gas bills in October. The decision will affect as many as 9.4 million domestic users out of which 3.6 million falls in the lowest income slab and another 2.63 million in the second lowest income group.
The Pakistan government has categorised gas consumers into seven slabs to spread the impact of the gas price hike progressively. The consumers which consume 50 cubic metres of gas per month will experience an increase of 10 percent. Around 38 percent of consumers fall into this category. The consumers who consume 100 cubic metres of gas will face an increase of 15 percent. Consumers which consume 400 cubic metres of gas per month will face a rise of 143 percent.
The gas prices for commercial and industrial consumers will increase from 30 per cent to 57 per cent, due to this prices of fertiliser, manufacturing units, electricity generation, cement and Compressed Natural Gas have been increased. The government increased the gas prices as the state gas companies were running in deficit, said the minister.
Officials said that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), an independent watchdog, proposed to hike gas prices by up to 186 per cent to meet the revenue shortfall of the Sui Northern Gas Company Limited (SNGPL) and the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL). According to a report published in Pakistan daily, Dawn, the ECC has also decided to lift all taxes imposed on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and will charge 10 percent goods and services tax instead. It will result in decreasing prices of LPG cylinder to Rs 1,400 from Rs 1,600.
The Opposition has slammed the government for increasing the prices of gas. Pakistan Muslims League-Nawaz leader Ahsan Iqbal said that the government was doing everything against its stated policies.'
(With inputs from PTI)