July 8, 2019: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Syed Ali Ahsan has urged the government to direct SNGPL to remove unjustified arrears from gas bills and sort out the issues regarding subsidy and LPS with the government once for all.
SNGPL has issued gas bills at full RLNG tariff for the month of June, 2019, i.e. Rs.1798.32/MMBTU. He said the Ministry of Finance vide office memorandum had advised to use average exchange rate of the whole month, however, SNGPL used higher rate which is not understandable.
It may be noted that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) had announced in its meeting dated 27th September 2018 a regionally competitive gas tariff for 5 zero rated sectors i.e. US$ 6.5/MMBTU (with effect from October 16, 2018) and accorded 2nd priority to “5 zero rated sectors” in Gas Allocation and Management Policy.
He said the Lahore High Court vide its order dated 2nd May, 2019 directed SNGPL to issue gas bills on 10th of every month after receipt of subsidy from government. SNGPL working is contrary to the court order. The industry is unable to understand the stance of SNGPL which is contradicting government policy i.e., “to enable industry to lift economy” by providing regionally competitive energy i.e. gas at USD 6.5/MMBTU.
He said the industry in other provinces is getting gas at Rs. 600/MMBTU while Industry in Punjab vide Government initiative (dated 27th September 2018) was entitled to receive gas at USD 6.5/MMBTU equivalent to Rs. 1040/MMBTU. However, SNGPL has started issuing gas bills at full RLNG tariff since March, 2019.
The APTMA leadership has expressed concerns that the exporting industry has not booked any orders in the last seven days. Local sales of Textiles are at halt due to uncertainty. So, mills would not be in the position to pay bills.
He said the industry is still awaiting gas pricing mechanism which is to be applied from 1stJuly, 2019 onwards. Due to uncertainty in the gas pricing, the industry is reluctant to take any new investment decisions.
Chairman APTMA has appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to extend patience hearing to industrialists to redress their issues and let them contribute towards the economic uplift in line with his vision.