8,000 CNG buses soon will be on the roads, Afridi
Federal Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi has said the government is making all out efforts to encourage the use of CNG and is even not imposing any duty on the import of CNG parts. Speaking at the 5th International CNG Conference at a local hotel on Thursday, the federal minister stressed upon maximum usage of environmentally friendly CNG properties adding that the air quality situation in Pakistan’s major cities would be far worse without CNG vehicles.
Mr. Afridi said the Pakistan government was well aware of its environmental obligations and had dedicated the year 2009 as Year of the Environment. He said the government was making its efforts to ply some 8,000 CNG buses on roads in the country. Chief Minister Taskforce on Environment chairman Dr Awais Farooqui said the government needed to redouble its efforts towards tapping new reservoirs. “Gas exploration is costly. Not doing anything will be even more costly,” he said.
Oil and Gas Regularity Authority (OGRA) senior executive director Javed Nazir said Pakistan had the largest CNG market in the world in terms of number of stations (2,600) and CNG vehicles (1.8million). He said that some 700 new CNG stations would be created countrywide in 2009. All Pakistan CNG Association senior vice-chairman Capt. (retired) Shuja Anwar said the government must deliver greater assistance in the form of subsidies to the CNG industry. He said the honeymoon period in the CNG business had been over as the profit margin had reduced and some 40 per cent of CNG dealers were currently doing their business at a loss.
Capt Anwar said the government lacked a coherent licensing policy and had approved licenses to too many stations within very close proximity, causing more problems. National Forum for Environment & Health (NFEH) president Naeem Qureshi said the increase in CNG prices at a rate of Rs44.5 per Kg had deterred automobile owners to fill up on CNG or have their cars converted. CNG Dealers Association chairman Abdul Sami Khan and CNG Station Owners Association of Pakistan president Malik Khuda Buksh said Pakistan should follow Iran ‘s example of creating CNG business friendly conditions. Pakistan State Oil managing director Kalim Siddiqui said the government lacked a coherent transport policy.
Citing an example, he said, diesel was being sold at a lower rate in Pakistan than petroleum because of lower taxes, despite higher refining costs. He said the government had yet to understand that most petroleum consumption came from the lower-middle classes on motorcycles who account around 70 per cent of petroleum usage. At a technical session, Sazgar Engineering CEO Asad Hameed gave a presentation on “CNG Rickshaw Manufacturing”, while Component Master chief executive Waseem Ahmad also gave a presentation.
Later, a panel discussion was held on “Problems and Future Strategy of CNG Industry”