ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif Saturday demanded an investigation into the reports that the government purchased the most expensive Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the history of the country.
Sharif, who is also the opposition leader in the National Assembly, while quoting an international media report about Pakistan’s LNG purchase, said it validated the opposition’s claim of alleged embezzlement in the procurement of the LNG.
The revelation has proved that the government was constantly misrepresenting the nation, adding the PML-N was buying LNG for $8, while the PTI-led government is buying for 15 dollars per metric million British thermal unit (MMBTU).
“The government is paying an additional $22.5 million on the import of one LNG ship,” he said in a statement, adding that an additional 95 million dollars will have to be paid for the import of four LNG ships.
This month, the PML-N stalwart said, the public will have to pay 15 dollars per MMBT unit of LNG, which is an “injustice”.
He alleged that cheap LNG deals were available during the Covid-19 crisis but the PTI government deliberately delayed it, despite being reminded by the PML-N that cheap LNG could be purchased during the Covid-19 crisis. In September 2021, he maintained, the government will pay $387 million for importing 11 LNG ships.
He said that Trafigura – one of the world’s largest independent LNG traders – had offered cheap LNG in writing but it was not accepted by the PTI government.
At that time, he said, the LNG would have been available for four dollars, if a three-year contract had been signed, adding that the government did not sign a four-dollar deal and it was currently buying LNG at more than $15 per MMBTU.
“A cheaper LNG deal would have saved Pakistan 35.2 million dollars per ship,” Shehbaz said, adding if the contract for cheap LNG had been signed, the country would have imported 12 cargoes by now and saved a total of 422.4 million dollars, benefiting the country and the people.
Besides, he said that the PTI government could order at least 14 cargoes but was deliberately importing less and due to this strategy, expensive electricity was being generated from the furnace oil.
To add insult to injury, he said, that is why gas is not available in the country for the CNG sector as well as the industry.
“If our proposal had been accepted, there would not have been a gas and electricity crisis in the country today, and the nation would have got cheaper gas,” he added.
He said that this is not incompetence but the result of the desire to make money which should be investigated.
Referring to multiple cases registered against the PML-N leaders in connection with LNG scandal, he said, cheap LNG buyers are facing jails and lawsuits, while no one is holding accountable the world’s most expensive LNG buyers.
In addition, he said, long-term LNG purchase agreements are signed around the world but the PTI has adopted the method of spot purchase, which no other country in the world adopts.
Responsibility should be fixed and they should be held accountable on grounds of robbing the country and the nation, he said, adding that the nation was being looted just like it was looted in flour, sugar, and medicine scandals.
He lamented that the direct result of the PTI’s policies was unemployment and inflation in the country.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021