Long CNG closure

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It has not come as a surprise. The government has announced that the CNG pumps in Sindh and Balochistan will not be supplied gas for two and a half months. There is nothing new in the announcement about gas load management in the country in the winter season for gas is diverted to colder regions to enable people to keep themselves warm. Gas rationing in winter has been continuing for the past 8-9 years.

This time around only the CNG closure period is the longest. The gas thus saved will be supplied to domestic and commercial consumers. In order to ensure proper gas supply to domestic consumers, supply of the fuel to captive power plants of non-export industries too has been stopped. Seen in the backdrop of the long-persisting gas shortage in the country, the recent prophecy of the petroleum secretary that the days of piped gas are numbered seems to be coming true. People in some other countries also are reportedly switching to LPG cylinders for use as domestic fuel. However, in Pakistan, the price of LPG cylinders is far higher than that of the piped gas.

Considering the deteriorating availability of gas, sooner or later domestic and commercial consumers, including taxi and rickshaw drivers, will have to go for the relatively expensive LPG cylinders adding more to their family and business expenses. This will result in spiking the general price level and the inflationary spiral thereby further eroding the value of money and, with it, will decrease people’s purchasing power and the demand for goods and services. People will have to make sacrifices for the greatest common good.

The difficult economic circumstances demand sacrifices from all segments of society. The new government had announced austerity measures soon after coming to power. We don’t know to what extent these measures are being put into practice. Our affluent classes have long been used to living ostentatiously. They and we all should rise to the occasion by giving up the habit of show-off and reckless spending.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2021.

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