ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s oil import bill has started to increase owing to the closure of CNG stations due to severe gas shortage, surging by 3.65 per cent in the month of October over the corresponding period of last year.

The government spent $1.22 billion on importing petroleum products in October 2014 that is 3.65 per cent higher than import of the same period previous year when the oil import bill was $1.17 billion.

According to the figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the government imported oil worth $5.07 billion during four months (July-October) of the current financial year 2014-2015 as against $5.16 billion of the same period last year.  Sources informed that oil import bill is likely to further surge in the months to come due to the closure of CNG stations in winter season, as the petrol would replace the gas supply to CNG. However, it is difficult to quantify given the projected decline in international oil prices for the next four to six months to a year.

It is worth mentioning here that government had decided to suspend gas supply to CNG and industrial sector of Punjab for four months starting from November 15 to March 15, 2015.

“As there will be no CNG in Punjab province in next three to four months that would force the motorists to use petrol and it will have an impact on the country’s oil import bill,” said an official of the Commerce Ministry.

He added that government could not avail from the declining oil prices in international in term of cut in oil import bill, as increase in volume of bill would offset the decrease in prices.

Meanwhile, the break-up of oil import bill in July-October showed that country imported petroleum products worth $3.19 billion and petroleum crude worth $1.88 billion. The country’s overall import bill had increased by 16 per cent in four months, as it stood at $16.79 billion in July-October 2014-2015 as against $14.46 billion of the same period previous year.

The country spent $1.95 billon on food import, $2.4 billion on machinery import, $913 million on transport related import, $840 million on textile related import, $2.56 billion on agricultural and other chemicals group import, $1.18 billion on metal group, $362 million on miscellaneous group and $1.46 billion on import of all other items during July-October 2014-2015.