The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said a move by the gas companies and Ogra to get limit of Unaccounted For Gas (UFG) losses enhanced by one hundred per cent can hit the government efforts to resolve energy crisis.

Approval of two fold increase in the UFG limit will hit masses and economy hard and country will witness new wave of inflation and reflect negatively on plans to import of LNG, it said.

Government has approved UFG limit at 7 per cent which is 1 per cent in Bangladesh, enhancing it to 14 per cent will transfer tens of billions from masses to the accounts of SSGC, SNGPL and their influential shareholders, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that Ogra and gas utilities should try to reduce increased theft, mismanagement and leakages to benefit themselves and their shareholders seeking increased profitability and abstain from burdening consumers.

Dr Murtaza Mughal said that UFG is a way to legalise theft which gas companies admit to have reached Rs 30 billion per annum while the actual amount is said to be around Rs 120 billion.

He said that the former chairman Ogra Taquir Sadiq illegally hiked UFG by 2 per cent benefitting shareholders by Rs 50 billion and attracting attention of Supreme Court. He landed in jail but his decision was not reversed which is amazing.

Now the gas stakeholders are pressurising government to accept their unjust demands which were kept pending for long in the interest of masses, he informed.

Dr Mughal said that gas officials would always put entire blame on an ineffective sector which is closed since four months but no reduction has been noticed in gas theft which proves the intentions of top gas authorities. He asked the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to reject the latest summary forwarded by the Ogra to allow 100 per cent raise in the UFG ceiling.