Gas sector circular debt reaches Rs1.3tr

The Petroleum Division told the Public Accounts Committee Thursday that circular debt of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) had reached Rs1.3 trillion (Rs1,300 billion).

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) expressed its annoyance at the Petroleum Division for non-completion of gas schemes and ordered a one-year audit to ascertain the losses.

During Thursday’s meeting, PAC Chairman PAC Rana Tanveer asked the SNGPL MD about his salary to which he could not give an answer. He said there was no precedent for the package being given to the MD in the government.

The committee sought details of salaries of SNGPL MD and others officials. The chairman said if the initiated schemes were not completed, pipelines got wasted. “You have stopped issuing gas meters. Pipelines have been laid in all the villages but the meters cannot be installed,” he said.

He said even where there was an old pipeline, gas was not supplied there. “Gas meters should be installed if pipelines have been laid,” he said. The Petroleum Division secretary said: “We do not have gas supply. The real problem is that gas is declining by 10pc every year and over five million applications for connections are pending.”

He said gas connections to villages were cut even if 10 people did not pay their bills. PAC member Kh Asif said that there were police stations that supply electricity to neighbourhoods and pocket the money themselves.

The PAC chairman said the petroleum secretary had not replied to three letters written to him. The secretary told the committee that circular debt of the gas companies had reached Rs1,300 billion and they were facing difficulties in recovery for various reasons.

The audit officials briefed the committee on the issue of non-recovery of more than Rs58 billion from consumers by SNGPL. The petroleum secretary informed the committee that Rs18 billion had been recovered while cases of Rs32 billion were pending with courts.

PAC member Manzar Hassan questioned about defaulters. The secretary said 574 active gas users were those who had stay orders from the courts. Chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain directed strengthening the legal side and sending the recovery report after three months.

On an inquiry, the secretary informed the committee that gas production in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa exceeded the demand throughout the year. He said that the gas demand decreased in June and July.

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