PM directs ministry not to raise gas price

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday stopped the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources from increasing the gas price from January 1, 2016.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources had announced that gas prices would go up by 38 percent from January 1, 2016. However, the premier stopped it from raising the gas price as domestic and commercial consumers were facing severe gas shortages. The decision to enhance the prices at this time would ignite their fury against the government. Therefore, the decision had been deferred till June 1.

Earlier, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) approved an increase in gas tariff for consumers of the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) in a bid to generate Rs55 billion to bail out the gas utilities.

Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif said that the country had moved to the irreversible path of economic development due to investments in the energy and infrastructure sectors by the government.

He said that Pakistan was back on the track of economic growth. “Political stability, the improved security situation and transparency in the public sector governance have contributed significantly to this positive growth,” he added.

He was discussing the country’s economic situation with Minister for Finance Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar here at the PM House on Wednesday. The finance minister informed the premier that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves had reached a record high of $21 billion.

According to official sources of the PM House, Senator Dar said that of the $21 billion of foreign exchange reserves, $16 billion were with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) while $5 billion dollars were with the commercial banks. The minister told the prime minister that the SBP’s share had, during the last year, increased from $3 billion to $16 billion. The premier lauded the performance of the economic team led by Ishaq Dar, and observed that Pakistan was back on the track with respect to economic growth. He said that political stability had improved security in the country, and transparency in public sector governance had also resulted in growth.

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