The government has been searching for the most feasible prices for LNG and yet, they seem to have no plans for how this gas is to be distributed throughout the country. The US has already rejected Pakistan’s request to import LNG, which was bound to happen considering there is a long queue of countries ahead of us waiting for LNG from the US. India’s prices have been deemed too steep for Pakistan, which makes Qatar our only option. Still, all of this is meaningless unless the country constructs an LNG terminal which is looking no closer to being built at the moment. The LNG Services Agreement (LSA) was approved on the 18th of last month, and agreed to by Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited (ETPL) and Sui Northern Gas only eight days ago. The self-imposed timeframe of 355 days for completion of the terminal was supposed to start only after an agreement was reached, which makes it a near certainty that the terminal will not be completed by the 1st of November this year.

Subsequently, gas and power supply for the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), is deplorably low. The association is making plea after plea to the government to reduce the hours of gas and electricity load shedding that the industry has to go through, but their requests have gone unheard so far. Gas to the industry is only available for use for three and a half days in the week, and electricity is available for 70 hours a week. Both large and small scale manufacturers are facing problems meeting their production quotas and Pakistan’s export capability is being seriously hampered. In the face of this crisis which is affecting every strata of the country’s economy, claims about increasing foreign reserves, the GSP Plus status, and opening up the market for foreign investment mean nothing unless Pakistan improves its balance of payments. Some positive indicators for the economy and its growth have been seen since the start of this year. But only through exportation can these indicators be used for tangible growth that will benefit the entire country. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources has referred to the deadline for the gas terminal time and again, but to little avail. The government has forced itself into a corner by deciding to forgo the Pak-Iran gas pipeline, and now the supply of its substitute is tenuous at best.