ISLAMABAD - AHMAD AHMADANI - Around 2.7 million CNG vehicles will continue to form hour-long queues outside gas filling stations for some more days as the committee formed to determine CNG price guidelines Wednesday failed to yield any result and subsequently formed another subcommittee to resolve the lingering issue. Unresolved issue at hand, Finance Ministry doesn’t want to reduce levy of taxes, ministry of petroleum won’t reduce price of gas, and CNG Association has threatened to go on a full fledge strike if the issue was not resolved till December 31.

Against expectations, the meeting of subcommittee of federal cabinet’s ECC led by Law Minister Farooq H Naek formed to determine CNG price guidelines failed to bore any fruit during its meeting. Members of CNG associations, distribution association, consumer associations (NGOs), representatives of Ogra and petroleum ministry’s officials attended this important meeting. Adviser to Prime Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain attended the meeting for few minutes and left while Federal Minister for Finance did not participate in the meeting which failed to evolve consensus on CNG pricing, resultantly commuters’ miseries would linger on for further few days across the country.

A participant of the meeting on the condition of anonymity disclosed to TheNation that during the course of this meeting the ministry of finance declined to reduce share of imposed taxes on CNG. Finance Ministry was of the view that current financial position of the country did not allow us to decrease levies while taxes levied on the commodity are for new gas infrastructure. On the other hand, the MP&NR has also refused to reduce the price of gas used in CNG.

Speaking to media following meeting, Law Minister Farooq H Naek said that different pricing formulas were presented by different stakeholders in today’s meeting.

The committee would evaluate these formulas and would find a sustainable solution the CNG pricing. He said the subcommittee while formulating policy guidelines on pricing would also consider the operating cost and profit embedded in the price of the commodity. To prepare policy guidelines on CNG pricing, a subcommittee has been formed comprising Dr Asim Hussain, Chairman Ogar Saeed Khan, Law Minister Farooq H Naek and Secretary Cabinet Nargis Sethi.

Meanwhile All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) representative Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said that urea sector is getting gas Rs 44.04 cheaper than the CNG sector; Independent Power Producers are getting gas Rs 23.42 cheaper while industry is getting the commodity Rs 26.42 cheaper than the CNG filling stations. Paracha said that government is charging Rs 14 as GIDC on every kilogram of CNG sold in Potohar, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while filling stations in the rest of the country are paying Rs 9 as GIDC, which must match.  Urging the government to devise a price formula based on consensus that should include uniform gas price and taxation and same treatment being given to gas companies with CNG sector.  However, Paracha warned of a strike if much delayed CNG price issue couldn’t resolve by December 31. It merits mentioning here that Asim Hussain who briefly attended the meeting told the media that CNG associations wanted an increase in their profits.