Thousands of industrial workers jobless after CNG outage in Sindh: CM

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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the natural gas closure in Sindh was not only violation of Article 158 of the constitution but it has rendered thousands of industrial and transporters [CNG] workers jobless and has also caused serious problems for domestic consumers.

In talks with Federal Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Sindh CM stated that Article 158 outlines that “the province in which a well-head of natural gas is situated shall have precedence over other parts of Pakistan in meeting the requirements from that well-head, subject to commitments and obligations as the commencing day.”

The Chief Minister was assisted by Minister Energy Imtiaz Shaikh, CM Advisor on Law Murtaza Wahab, Secretary Energy Musadiq Ahmed Khan and Tariq Shah Director Energy in the meeting convened on Friday at the CM House.

The other delegates Additional Secretary of the Ministry Dr Tanveer Qureshi, GD Petroleum Concessions Qazi Saleem Siddiqui, DG Gas Shahid Yousaf, DG Oil Jabbar Memon, Mohammad Iqbal DG Mineral. PTI MPA Haleem Adil Shaikh were also in attendence.

He said that Sindh produced 26,00 to 2,700 mmcfd daily against which Sindh was being given a quota of 1,000 to 1,100 mmcfd. He added that the gas of industrial captive power plants has been closed.

“In the city, there are 400 industrial units with a workforce of 100,000 employees. The entire industry in the city is facing gas closure from last three days,” he said adding that the CNG sector was also facing three-day closure in a week.

“This situation is alarming and causing heavy unemployment,” he added.

Murad Ali Shah taking up the issue of village gasification said that 985 schemes were pending with SSGCL from 2008-9 to 2017-18. Apart from it, there was a backlog of 8,522 applications with SSGCL for clearance. Out of 7,718 applications, 50 were for commercial, 288 industrial, 390 captives power and 76 CNG.

The chief minister said that Sindh has no presence in OGRA and proposed that there should be four members, including chairman and each province should be given a presentation with one member.

He also proposed an amendment in the Petroleum Concession Agreement (PCA)/Supplemental Agreement. Under existing arrangement, Federal Secretary Petroleum awards PCA to Energy and Power Companies and The chief minister proposed that Federal Secretary Petroleum and provincial Secretary Energy should jointly award the PCA.

He also proposed that the provincial chief inspector of Mines should be given a role to inspect oil and gas fields for labour and mine safety issues. He also took up the issue of representation of provinces in the board of PPL, OGDCL, SSGCL and PSO.

Syed Murad Ali Shah said that Excise Duty on Crude Oil is imposed under Article 161(1)(b) and quoted it as “the net proceeds of the federal duty of excise on oil levied at well-head and collected by the federal government, shall not form part of the Federal Consolidated Fund and shall be paid to the provinces in which the well-head of oil is situated.” He added that Excise Duty on Crude Oil has not been imposed since last eight years, therefore the provincial government was facing revenue loss.

He added that the purpose of his meeting was to know the point of the provincial government. He disclosed that he would meet with the chief ministers of the other provinces.
The federal minister assured the chief minister that the provinces would be given a due presentation in the federal oil and gas companies.

As far as the gas closure was concerned he would be holding a meeting in the SSGCL office to take final decisions.
The meeting agreed that a meeting of provinces with the federal minister of petroleum would be held prior to next CCI so that a consensus could be developed to resolve all the issues unanimously.
The chief minister urged the federal petroleum minister to order the opening of natural gas in the province.