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October 25, 2020

Minister hints at gas load shedding for industrial consumers

Business

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APP
October 25, 2020

HYDERABAD: Planning Minister Asad Umar on Saturday hinted at the curtailment of gas supply to industrial consumers in the upcoming winter as the shortfall crossed two billion cubic feet.

“All-out efforts are being made to overcome the issue of gas shortage in the country,” Umar said during an interaction with industrialists and traders.

The minister said the gas consumption is much higher at around 6 billion cubic feet compared to present production which is less than 4 billion cubic feet.

“The priority is being given to domestic consumers while all-out efforts are underway to improve the gas availability to industrial and commercial sectors of the country,” he said. “The government is also making efforts to rationalise prices so that liquefied natural gas could also be made available for consumption.”

Umar said this could be possible after completion of required infrastructure including the laying of pipeline. “We are trying to remove all the bottlenecks.”

Sui Southern Gas Company is expected to face 250-400 million cubic feet per day of gas shortage during winter. Sui Northern Gas Pipelines that feeds Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir will also face 300-350 million cubic feet / day.

On power outage, the minister said the government will soon announce a special package for industries.

“Surplus electricity is available in the country and efforts are underway to bring reforms in energy sector particularly in distribution system to resolve the issue at the earliest,” he said. “Remarkable development is also being made in energy sector to produce electricity from alternate sources particularly through wind power and the industrialists of the province could take advantage of this source of energy.”

The minister said a comprehensive package with maximum incentives for the construction industry is under consideration. About the issues being faced by the construction industry, he said the government is keen to improve this industry, which provides job opportunities in 40 other sectors.

The minister said the provincial governments are managing the industrial zones of their respective provinces and the federal government will welcome the proposals of development of infrastructure if it received the same from the province.

“Issues related to the federal government including provision of electricity and gas to industrial areas will be tackled amicably,” he said.

The minister said after COVID-19, provinces realised the fact of forming effective combined strategies and better coordination to make health facilities available for the people. The federal government has earmarked an amount of around Rs50 billion to introduce modern health facilities to meet the challenges of the diseases and pandemic.