HYDERABAD-Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, while hinting at curtailed supply of natural gas to industries in arriving winter season due to depleting reserves, has said that all-out efforts were being made to overcome the issue of gas shortage in the country.

The gas consumption is much higher at around 6 billion cubic feet compared to present production which is less than 4 cbf, the minister informed while addressing the representatives of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and SITE Associations of Nooriabad, Kotri, Jamshoro and Hyderabad here at a reception hosted by Ali Junejo in his honor at Hyderabad Gymkhana on Saturday.

At present, the minister informed that priority is being given to domestic consumers while all out efforts were under way to improve the gas availability so that the same could also be provided to industrial and commercial sectors of the country.

He said that the government was also making efforts to rationalize the prices so that Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) could also be made available for consumption. It could be possible after completion of required infrastructure including the laying of pipeline and the government is making all out efforts to clear bottlenecks in this regard, he added.

Responding to complaints of the representatives of trade and industry organizations about the non availability of electricity, the minister informed that the government would soon announce a special package for industries. Surplus electricity is available in the country and efforts are underway to bring reforms in energy sector particularly in distribution system of DISCOs so that the issue could be resolved at the earliest, he said and added that remarkable development is also being made in energy sector to produce electricity from alternate sources particularly through wind power and the industrialists of the province could take advantage of this source of energy.

About the issues being faced by the construction industry, Asad Umar said the Prime Minister Imran Khan is keen to improve this industry, the biggest industry providing job opportunities to the people in around 40 other sectors. A comprehensive package with maximum incentives for the construction industry was under consideration so that the goals of rapid progress and prosperity could be achieved at the earliest, he added.

Responding to demand for the development of infrastructure in the industrial areas, the minister said the provincial governments were managing the industrial zones of their respective provinces and the federal government would welcome the proposals of development of infrastructure if it received the same from the province. However, he assured that issues related to the federal government including provision of electricity and gas to industrial areas will be tackled amicably.

About health facilities, the minister said that after COVID-19, the provinces had realized the fact of forming effective combined strategies and better coordination to make health facilities available for the people.

The federal government has earmarked an amount of around Rs.50 billion to introduce modern health facilities in order to meet out the challenges of the diseases and pandemic like COVID-19, he informed and added that the federal government was also in touch with the Sindh government and if the provincial government recommended state of the art health facilities would also be provided to historic city of Hyderabad.