Govt drops another gas bomb on inflation-stricken masses

ISLAMABAD (PEN) : The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has given on Tuesday the nod to yet another increase in gas tariffs, aiming to offset a staggering shortfall of Rs98 billion plaguing the nation’s economy.

Effective from January 1, 2024, till June 30, 2024, the revised rates spell additional woes for citizens already grappling with unprecedented inflation rates. This marks the second adjustment in gas prices within the ongoing financial year 2023-24.

In a move that’s set to reverberate across households nationwide, the government has opted to raise the tariffs of both Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL).

SNGPL faces a substantial surge of 35.13 percent in tariffs, while SSGCL’s rates are elevated by 8.57 percent.

Ogra’s proposal on February 2 recommended a significant hike, pushing the average gas price to Rs1,590 per MMBTU, up from the previous rate of Rs1,291 established in June 2023.

This adjustment comes in response to mounting pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), urging biannual revisions to gas prices as a measure to alleviate the burgeoning circular debt.

Under the recent decision by Ogra, Sui Northern gas tariffs have soared to Rs1,673.82 per MMBTU, marking a substantial increase from the previous rate of Rs1,238.68.

Similarly, Sui Southern’s gas tariffs have surged to Rs1,466.40 per MMBTU, up from Rs1,350.68 per MMBTU.

The government’s decision to approve this hike in gas tariffs has elicited mixed reactions from various segments of society. While some argue it’s a necessary step to address the economic challenges, others express concern over its impact on the already burdened populace.

With inflation rates scaling new heights, the affordability of essential utilities becomes an increasingly pressing concern for ordinary citizens.

As the nation grapples with economic uncertainties, the debate surrounding the efficacy of such measures continues to intensify, underscoring the need for comprehensive strategies to tackle Pakistan’s economic woes while safeguarding the interests of its people.