Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said the government has developed a policy that would allow private businesses to procure Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) directly from Qatar.
Addressing the inauguration of three industrial zones in Punjab, the prime minister informed the various business houses in attendance to avail the benefit of cheap energy from Qatar.
“Because LNG rates at present are very low, the federal government has developed a policy under which private companies shall directly purchase LNG cargoes from Qatar,” said PM Shehbaz. “The government would provide all facilities at the Karachi Port.
“However, the companies would not sell the LNG to the market — this is not the intention of this arrangement.
“The rate would be negotiated with the government after which this gas would be provided to Pakistan’s industries.”
At present, Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) is mandated by the government of Pakistan to carry out the business of buying, importing, storing LNG, distributing, transporting, metering and selling natural gas.
In this capacity PLL procures LNG from international markets and enters into onward arrangements for the supply of gas to the end user, thereby managing the whole supply chain of LNG from procurement to end-user gas sales.
However, the government energy buyer has failed to secure LNG cargoes in recent months, amid high energy prices in the international market.
Meanwhile, during the address, the prime minister lauded the role of investors and industrialists.
“At the moment, Pakistan needs investment and it also needs to put more efforts into export promotion,” he said.
PM Shehbaz said that through these industrial zones, investors are bringing modern and smart technology, which would help vocational training.
“I believe these development projects, which generate job opportunities for thousands, lead production and create revenues through exports.”
He said a 3-MW solar power project would be installed in one industrial zone.
“If we want to make our exports competitive in the international markets, we need to reduce cost of production, for which we need to procure modern technology on an urgent basis.
“Electricity rates need to be reduced, which is a big challenge amid high circular debt, line and transmission losses and theft. This leads to a revenue loss to the tune of hundreds of billions of rupees, which burns a hole in our economy.”
On the incoming caretaker government, PM Shehbaz said next month (August), an interim government would be set up.
“We are doing legislation which would enable the upcoming interim setup to take measures to turn around the economy. We are doing this legislation, as we do not want to waste time during the interim government’s tenure.”
Shehbaz said that a network of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) should be established across the country to achieve economic growth.
“I have told the Chinese to help us.”