NAB launches inquiry against static gas tariff during PML-N’s tenure


ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has launched an inquiry against the static gas tariff for four years during the tenure of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which allegedly caused loss of billions of rupees to the general public and the national exchequer.

Documents available with Pakistan Today revealed that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), under the political influence of the PML-N government, did not notify an increase in gas tariff and caused a loss of Rs250 billion to the gas companies Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL).

Documents further revealed that former PML-N government had artificially maintained gas tariff for the last four years but in May, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had approved SNGPL and SSGCL’s collection of Rs117 billion and Rs130 billion from gas consumers in four installments respectively. Furthermore, SNGPL would collect additional Rs11 billion and SSGCL would collect additional Rs10 billion on account of gas theft and leakage.

“Gas companies had given out 1.5 million new domestic connections during the last one year despite the shortage of gas,” the documents revealed.

The documents further revealed that the PML-N government had launched a new gas scheme under which Rs23 billion would be collected from the general public.

Former member energy Shahid Sattar had lodged a complaint with NAB against former premier Abbasi, OGRA and others for causing loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer by artificially maintaining the gas tariff.

It is also worth mentioning here that PML-N’s decision of keeping the gas tariff unchanged had worsened the financial situation of SSGC and SNGPL and made it impossible for them to survive without an increase in gas tariff and they were about to halt their operations.

Earlier, the interim government was told to increase gas tariff by 300 per cent for domestic customers and 30 per cent for commercial and industrial customers, therefore raising the average gas price from Rs234 per MMBTU to Rs629 per MMBTU but it did not increase the tariff because it deemed it did not have the mandate to make such a critical decision.

Recently, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government increased the gas tariff by up to 143 per cent and passed on the burden to the masses in order to bail out the gas companies.

In August, SNGPL’s payables stood at Rs171.1 billion, including a markup of Rs28.9 billion whereas its receivables amounted to Rs165.1 billion. Out of this amount, Rs10.4 billion was to be paid to the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and independent power producers for receiving liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply.

On the other hand, SSGC’s receivables stood at Rs203.6 billion of which Rs83.5 billion was against K-Electric, Rs55 billion against Pakistan Steel Mills, Rs13.9 billion against SNGPL (uniform price), Rs3.91 billion against SNGPL (net), Rs3.53 billion against WAPDA (JPCL/CPGCL), Rs25.2billion in sales tax recovery and Rs18.4 billion in income tax recovery. SSGC was to pay Rs69.8 billion to Oil and Gas Development Company, Rs43.4 billion to Pakistan Petroleum Limited and Rs35.6 billion to Government Holdings Private Limited, totaling the payables to Rs148.8 billion.