Govt Revises Gas Priority to Foster Industrial Growth


Islamabad: In a strategic move aimed at bolstering industrial growth, the caretaker government has overhauled the gas priority order, elevating the process industry to a prominent position alongside domestic consumers. This significant revision entails a reshuffling of sectors, with the fertiliser sector now grouped in the second tier, alongside the power sector, a departure from its previous placement in the third category.

Under the new framework, domestic and commercial consumers, including tandoor and processing industries, occupy the top tier. The power and fertiliser sectors have been reallocated to the second category, followed by industry (captive power) in the third, cement in the fourth, and CNG in the fifth category.

This decision follows deliberations before the prime minister, with the Petroleum division presenting a revised plan for the gas priority order, subsequently approved. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) also endorsed the proposed amendments, emphasizing the paramount importance of prioritizing industries to stimulate economic advancement.

Critics of the previous order highlighted its distortion of merit, favoring domestic supply without commensurate value addition. Advocates for the revision stressed the pivotal role of industries in driving revenue and economic progress, necessitating their elevation in the priority hierarchy.

While ensuring a minimum of eight hours of gas supply to domestic consumers during winter months remains a priority, policymakers cautioned against diminishing residential supply further. They cited political initiatives aimed at securing votes through gas provision schemes, which have historically favored rural areas but contributed to strain on the gas network amid stagnant production.

The shift in priority has also coincided with increased gas losses and theft, prompting concerns among industry stakeholders. Mismanagement in the order has exacerbated reliance on LNG imports, exacerbating circular debt issues previously dominated by the power sector.

As Pakistan grapples with the evolving energy landscape, the government’s recalibration of gas priorities signals a proactive stance towards fostering industrial growth and addressing longstanding systemic challenges.

Story by: Zafar Bhutta

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