ISLAMABAD  – The federal cabinet will meet in Islamabad on Wednesday (today) in an important session which will likely decide the future of compressed natural gas (CNG) in the energy-starved country.

Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has summoned a session of the cabinet for Wednesday to discuss a summary by the petroleum ministry proposing stern measures to discourage the excessive consumption of CNG.

According to the summary prepared for the federal cabinet, the ministry wants to give clear guidelines about the future of the CNG sector to the consumers.

The summary proposes the use of CNG to be restricted only to public transport – rickshaws, taxis, wagons and buses.

This means that if the proposal is approved by the federal cabinet, more than 70 per cent CNG consumers (the private sector), or about 2.5 million people, will have to sell their CNG kits, which will be rendered useless, to scrap dealers.

Moreover, the summary also proposes to fix the price of CNG at 80 per cent parity with that of petrol. In other words, CNG prices for the remaining 30 per cent of consumers (the public transport sector) will be raised so that it is only 20 per cent cheaper than petrol.

On top of that, the guidelines proposed in the summary with ensure that the ongoing policy of ‘squeezing the CNG stations’ is strengthened, aligning the pricing of CNG to that of distribution of other fuels like petrol and diesel.

“In (due) course of time, all CNG stations will be incentivised to convert themselves to LPG,” adds the petroleum ministry’s summary.