ISLAMABAD  -    The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said another gas bomb has been prepared which will hit masses shortly. The gas companies which are not satisfied by up to 143 percent hike in the gas tariff during last one year have initiated efforts for a 145 percent further increase in the price of gas, it said.

If the government didn’t allow full revision in prices and decided to increase tariff by only 40 to 50 percent it would spell disaster for the masses reeling under inflation, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, the president of PEW.

The move will increase the profit of gas utilities but result in increased cost of doing business, closure of many businesses and widespread unemployment in the country, he added.

He said that the monthly bill of gas can exceed the monthly rent of a normal house any time soon.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that OGRA is bound to get public opinion before revision in the gas price which is just wastage of time and resources as recommendations of stakeholders have never been accepted.

He said that gas companies continue to milk masses on the ploy of losses but their directors have never tried to divest shares. The gas distribution companies continue to give dividends to their shareholders which is contrary to their claims of heavy losses, he observed.

Dr. Mughal said that gas is an important national asset and no one should be allowed to play with it while the role of gas distribution companies should be confined to transportation and distribution only.

He said that these companies are said to be the biggest hurdle in the success of LNG project which is costing billions to the public exchequer.

Gas companies have left OGRA almost dysfunctional while the government also take unilateral decisions bypassing the regulator.

If a dysfunctional OGRA is in the interest of the government and gas companies then there is no need to spend a hefty amount on this institution and should be closed.