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ISLAMABAD: The business community, while hailing decision of natural gas rationing for domestic consumers, urged the government to make this wisdom based verdict a permanent feature throughout the year. They said that fifty percent of total gas in Pakistan is consumed by a household which is one of major hindrance in economic growth of country.

A delegation of industrialists and traders led by Chaudhry Jawad Hafeez told this during a meeting with Coordinator to Federal Tax Ombudsman Meher Kashif Younis here Sunday. They discussed issues relating to trade and business development, said a press release.

Speaking on the occasion, Coordinator to FTO said that the domestic sector gas, consumption has grown 13 percent over the years, which was maximum growth among all the sectors, a third largest energy source in the world. He said that in most of developed countries, a single energy source was provided at the domestic and commercial levels to make best use for industrial and agricultural sectors whereas in Pakistan both resources power and gas were supplied at household level badly hampering economic growth especially during peak winter season. He said Pakistan is the most gas-intense country in the world and has less than one percent share in world gas consumption which is met through imported and indigenous resources. He said natural gas and LNG contribute more than 40 percent to the country’s current energy mix including gas used in power generation.

He said that it was unfortunate that gas in Pakistan was sold even below its cost which had caused colossal loss to gas companies. Now it is high time that government must ensure first uninterrupted supply to industries and agriculture sector followed by commercial and domestic consumers as practiced globally to strengthen the fragile economy, he expressed. He said on the other hand, the government must educate and persuade the people to use other alternative resources for household needs and allocate their share to industry which will bring prosperity in the country.

He said that industry was backbone of the economy and all out incentives were offered to industry to contribute towards accelerating economic growth and social development in every sphere of life. Industries are engine of growth; and power and gas is lifeline, he added.

Meher Kashif Younis said that disruption of energy supplies from the world’s largest supplier Russia was resulting in a hike in energy prices throughout the world. He said this is a significant setback for an oil importing country like Pakistan, thereby shrinking the country’s purchasing power even more. He cautioned that Pakistan was facing a severe gas shortage and urgently needed to carefully assess its strategic position in the global and regional context and more informal but timely decisions that were essential for its survival.

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