The masses are expected to grapple with the issue of gas price hike even more in the coming months as the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) have filed their petitions for a 145 percent tariff increase in gas prices. Last October, just a 35 percent increase in the prices was able to agitate the average household consumer because inflation is on the rise and gas has been a commodity available at cheaper rates.

The fluctuation in price internationally affects the price of commodities in Pakistan as well. The global increase in oil prices under petroleum policies will not only increase the cost of gas in Pakistan, which we have witnessed in the last couple of months, but the 145 percent increase will also certainly impact the consumption and affordability of the average consumer because the net salary is not relative to these changes in the market. In order to resolve the previous increase in price, the government removed four managing directors of the aforementioned companies, but this price hike is still expected, which translates into no relation to the removal of managing directors and price control in the industry.

Along with increasing prices, the government must also look at means to control the Rs50 billion lost in theft and mismanagement in the gas sector each year. This means that there is space to improve the existing setup. Both theft and mismanagement are areas which can be worked upon because it will not only increase the revenue base of the government but also help regulate the consumer base in the country. With such an extensive price hike expected in July this year, the government needs to ensure more and more people contribute to the national revenue; otherwise, there is a fair chance of demonstrations and protests.