In the meeting, chaired by Federal Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar, the ECC of the federal cabinet decided to move the summery for increasing gas tariff by up to 100 per cent for different sectors to the prime minister for approval. The summery for increasing gas tariff was moved by the petroleum ministry. The committee accepted the economic rationale for the revision of gas sale prices and for the removal of distortion in the prices.
The Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain had said on the other day that government was taking solid steps to solve gas crisis, adding that gas load management plan was being chalked out. Dr Asim further said there was proposal to approve the increase in gas tariff by 10-15 percent for domestic consumers, 15-20 for commercial and 100 percent for the fertiliser industry. According to the approved summary on natural gas load management plan, the proposed curtailment of CNG supply to CNG stations is for three and two days to the provinces of Punjab and Sindh respectively. The gas saved by proposed curtailment would be used for power generation in Sindh and would facilitate power and industrial sectors, especially fertiliser industry, in Punjab.
The ECC has also approved Ramazan Package worth of Rs2 billion in order to ensure the uninterrupted supply of essential food items, including flour, ghee, oil, rice and dates etc at reduced rate at the Utility Stores Corporation throughout the country. On the summary moved by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, the ECC approved furnace oil blending in Pakistan. This would bring blending technology to the country, besides increased investment in oil sector and additional employment opportunities. This is for the first time that furnace oil blending technology would be introduced in country through this approval. Pakistan has already sufficient infrastructure in this regard.
The ECC directed the ministry to draw SOPs and ensure proper monitoring system for oil blending. The monitoring system shall function under the supervision of Ogra and Hydro Carbon Development Institute of Pakistan and the IPPs shall be its consumers.
Meanwhile, after much deliberations and discussions on the Uniform Natural Gas Load Management Policy proposed by the petroleum ministry, the ECC decided that gas supply to two IPPs be continued for the coming five months while the other two IPPs shall be asked to resort to other fuels on which the price differential shall be given to them.
Re-lending of Keyal-Khawar Hydro Power Project has also been approved by the ECC.
Tax exemption for Wapda Sukuk Company has already been approved by the Ministry of Finance, which has granted exemption for the payment of income tax. The ECC also approved tariffs modification by Nepra, allowing operation of gas-based IPPs on backup fuel (High Speed Diesel) with full cost recovery, for whatever period gas is not available to them.
The ECC accorded NOC to the petroleum ministry for award of UCH-II development project to be undertaken by the (KRL) Khan Research Laboratories. The summary for this project was earlier submitted to the prime minister who desired that the same might be discussed at the ECC for decision. KRL has already shown its acceptance to undertake this project by lowest bidding and fast track its completion within the stipulated time. An additional security issue for Uch Power Project was also approved by the ECC.
INP adds: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has reserved its decision over increase of electricity tariff by 61 paisas under fuel adjustment.
Eight power distribution companies including the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) had applied for raise in the tariff for the month of May. The case was heard on Thursday at Nepra after which the decision was reserved.