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KARACHI: Stakeholders of various CNG associations as well as workers on Thursday held a sit-in outside the head office of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) against the prolonged gas supply suspension to CNG stations.

The participants said that they held a meeting with SSGC authorities, who assured them of restoring gas supply from February 15. The owners to the CNG stations said that they are facing financial crises due to prolonged suspension of gas supply and have no finance to pay salaries of workers.

They expressed their determination to continue sit-in till the restoration of gas supply to CNG stations. They said the closure of CNG stations had rendered many workers jobless at the outlets while transport operators are also facing serious problems in running buses.

Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo, President FPCCI, has expressed his shock that CNG association in Sindh has gone on strike, but the government is not even contacting or listening to their concerns. First, their livelihoods have been jeopardised and now they are being neglected and their voice is not being heard.

He said that the failure of the government to provide gas to the industry has caused unbearable losses and the country is losing its momentum of productivity, export orders, employment generation and it will reflect badly on the growth rate of the current fiscal year.

Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo also demanded that the Government of Pakistan and PM Imran Khan should reprimand the relevant ministries and departments responsible for the gas crisis as, in his opinion, it is a conspiracy against his government.

He added that investigations can point towards one of its own ministries, which is facilitating new terminals at the cost of the national interest of Pakistan and causing the destruction of industrial production, which is the backbone of foreign exchange earnings and exports of Pakistan.

Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo maintained that it is an open secret that there is surplus capacity in the existing LNG terminals and distribution network; however, no professional planning and preparatory arrangements were made to avert or even lessen the inevitable gas crisis that has struck the industry like never before in the ongoing winters.

FPCCI Chief added that he is not against setting up of new LNG terminals, nonetheless, it appears that the current crisis is being portrayed as the result of lack of LNG infrastructure, which is not true. In fact, there is so much shortage of the gas that a huge part of the capacity of the LNG terminals is currently underutilised, he added.

Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo stated that their is a need to import a bigger capacity Floating Regasification Storage Unit (FSRU) ship to add larger volumes of gas to the gas distribution infrastructure and supply the required gas to the industries at the earliest.

FSRU is an established, proven, fast-track and world-class solution for LNG imports and supplies, he added. It was heard that an LNG terminal had also proposed a 600 mmcfd FSRU ship earlier, but it was turned down and the government settled for a much smaller FSRU of 400 mmcfd.

United Business Group (UBG) Patron in Chief S M Muneer, President Zubair Tufail, Chairman Sindh Region Khalid Tawab, candidate Senior Vice President for FPCCI Election Mohammad Hanif Gohar and Central Spokesperson Gulzar Feroze have termed the impact of the gas cut off as extremely detrimental to the country’s economy.

They demanded that gas supply to the industry should be restored immediately. S M Muneer and Zubair Tufail said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should determine those responsible for the gas crisis and look into the issues which are affecting the industrial wheel in Karachi because if the industrial wheel is jammed then exports will be hit which will make the dream of Prime Minister Imran Khan to increase the country’s exports unfulfilled. They said that the strike of CNG Association in Sindh was creating a new crisis due to poor strategy of some ministers of the government.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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