The All Pakistan CNG Association in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is sounding the alarm, expressing grave concerns that a potential gas rate hike in January 2024 could spell disaster for the CNG sector.
Chairman Fazal Muqim warns that this increase would not only devastate the CNG industry but would disproportionately burden the poor, the majority of whom rely on CNG-dependent modes of transportation, including taxis, rickshaws, and Suzuki vans.
Muqim reveals that the surge in gas prices has seen the cost per mmbtu rise from 1800 to 3600 rupees, with the per kg rate escalating from 234 to 310 rupees. Despite these increases, the CNG sector is not reaping benefits, and the current rates are maintained to prevent misleading CNG users. However, with petrol prices lower than CNG, there is a risk that consumers may shift to petrol usage.
Highlighting the significance of the gas industry in the province, Muqim emphasizes that around 165,000 people are employed directly or indirectly by this sector. Any further escalation in gas prices would directly impact these employees and the thousands of families dependent on them.
Muqim urges the government to prioritize the gas sector and discourage a shift to petrol, which would result in a substantial increase in petrol imports, incurring an additional 1.2 billion dollars in import bills. Instead, he advocates for measures that would save this significant sum, emphasizing the need for the government to reconsider the proposed gas price hike slated for January.