ISLAMABAD - AHMAD AHMADANI - The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) in its upcoming meeting is likely to take a decision about the fate of whole CNG industry and its price controversy while the petroleum ministry is set to recommend a complete ban on filing of CNG to above 800CC powers vehicles in the country.

Well-informed sources aware of the matter confided to TheNation that the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources (MP&NR) has now resolved to take this issue to the ECC seeking its final nod prior to 5th December about the future of once robust CNG industry and much hyped CNG price muddle.  A summary seeking approval of the ministry of petroleum & natural resources (MPNR) is likely to be sent to ECC.  They further told that the MPNR in next ECC meeting would table important recommendations including a complete ban on filing of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to above 800CC powers vehicles and phase wise wiping out CNG industry in the country.  The ministry through its recommendations would also sought setting a price parity of 80 per cent between petrol and CNG prices, an end to operating cost of Rs7.90/kg, suspension of gas supply for two months to the CNG sector, disconnection of those CNG stations which had completed 15 years period and grant of approval to continue the CNG sale to the taxi.

Currently, around 3.6 million vehicles in the country are using CNG as fuel. Conversion of large scale of vehicles to petrol and diesel would also be very costly for the owners in particular and generally this decision of conversion would cause increase in oil import bill of the country by $1 billion. Currently, Pakistan has spent $6.78 billion on oil and food imports during the first four months (July-October) of the ongoing financial year 2012-13.

According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) figures, country imported petroleum products of worth $5.266 billion during the first four months of the current fiscal year as compared to $5.014 billion of the corresponding period of the previous financial year (2011-12), showing an increase of over five per cent. The break-up of $5.266 billion revealed that country imported other petroleum products worth of $3.431 billion and petroleum crude worth of $1.835 billion during July-October 2012-13.

Owing to worsening public miseries and continued CNG crisis in the country, the Ogra devised a new price formula and sent it to the MPNR on 29th November for issuance of policy guidelines necessary in this regard. But, the MPNR so far found desperate to end once profit earning CNG industry, while opposing the Ogra price formula has strongly opposed the operating cost of Rs 7.90/kilograme included in the price of per kilogram of CNG and the CNG sector as a whole. And, the MPNR would now plead its case against CNG industry/sector in the upcoming ECC.

Informed sources further pointed out that, as the Parliament so far could not give approval to the necessary relevant article of the Ogra Ordinance which needs Parliament’s endorsement to function regarding price setting. Similarly, the MPNR itself has so far even not found ready to issue policy guidelines in this regard so relevant article of the Ogra Ordinance has no say now to onwards. Consequently, CNG crisis and its price muddle are not likely to end by 5th December but will go for next couple of days to add further miseries for common man of the country.