PAC concerned at LNG purchase, high fertiliser cost

The Public Accounts Committee has expressed reservations about non-transparent LNG purchase and high cost of fertiliser.

A committee meeting held at the Parliament House Wednesday with Rana Tanveer Hussain in the chair examined audit objections of the petroleum ministry for the financial year 2020-21.

PAC Chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain said that there were reports about non-transparency in LNG purchase but the ministry had not given any response in this regard. He said that delay in all other decisions, including purchase of LNG, was causing problems. He said that the ministry had no future plans and it was necessary to review the losses incurred in this regard. He said that kickbacks were being taken in the LNG sector and the country was monthly basis and cost of one cargo ranged from Rs5 billion to Rs7 billion.

He said Pakistan had a long-term agreement with Qatar while the former had recently entered into another agreement with the latter. “A short-term agreement for 40 per cent of gas has been made at a time when global gas prices are falling,” he said, adding unfortunately there is no space for gas storage in the country at present.

The secretary said under the new agreement, Pakistan would import LNG from Qatar from November, December. He said gas could be stored in wells for 20 days in Badin. “The main reason for purchasing expensive LNG is lack of storage capacity in the country,” he said.

In this regard, he said there was a plan to build a storage facility in Badin district but it had not been implemented. He said that it was very difficult to meet gas demand in winters. He said that they were also facing difficulties because of PAPRA rules and, therefore, immediate purchase was not possible.

Rana Tanveer said what the people recruited by the ministry on fat salaries were up to if they did not sense the gas supply and demand situation. He said that the government put the burden of increase in gas prices on domestic consumers.

Kh Asif raised the issue oil theft and said oil of billions of rupees was being stolen from tankers in Muzzafargarh. He said the mafia involved in this was so strong that no one bid for laying a pipeline.

Rana Tanveer said the present and past governments faced the same problem. During the meeting, PAC Chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain and member Amir Dogar of the PTI had an exchange of harsh words over former SAPM on petroleum Nadeem Babar.

Sheikh Rohail Asghar said Nadeem Babar was in default of Rs800 million and he was appointed head of the ministry concerned. Rana Tanveer said that Nadeem Babar had slipped away owing to corruption and the country was going backwards instead of going forward.

Amir Dogar protested the remarks, saying Rana Tanveer was making a political speech. “All this had happened in the previous governments,” he said. Rana Tanveer responded to Amir Dogar by saying if he (Dogar) was in so much trouble, he should sit with ministry officials and respond.

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