The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday expressed shock over decision of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to temporary lift ban on the imports of CNG cylinders and kits terming it against the government stance, claims and decisions.
Top government functionaries have been publically blaming that CNG sector has become a burden responsible for all the ills of the energy sector and that the economical fuel will be phased-out to save economy from total collapse.
However, by allowing conditional import the government has violated its own stance to benefit an influential group in the CNG sector that imported huge quantity of cylinders and kits during ban, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
Questions are also raised about the taxes paid by the group and record of imports which officials say has been stolen while in the possession of FBR that merits a probe by NAB and superior judiciary, he added.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that ECC has used the name of Italian company to justify decision while ensuring benefit of Rs 1 billion to powerful CNG group who were allowed to run their filling stations throughout the loadshedding.
Insiders say that the concerned already knew about the decision and a sizable number of the imported items have already been sold.
It is astonishing that former finance minister slapped ban on CNG cylinders and kits on Dec 16, 2011 on the summary of petroleum ministry apparently in the national interests and now the ban was lifted on the summary of same ministry, again in the national interest.
The decision taken in the first ECC meeting with Finance Minister Saleem Mandviwalla in chair, few days after he took charge, is very important as a total of three critical decisions taken by former FM have been reversed including changing priority to the gas consuming sectors and tax breaks to a refinery.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that these decisions of ECC may be linked to the resignation of former FM Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
It seems difficult to justify the ECC’s CNG decision in the backdrop of Government claims that Pakistan is short of gas and that economical fuel has not only become a liability but bringing whole economy down.
The ECC decision also reaffirms the notion that nothing is final in politics, said Dr. Mughal adding that worse could be lying ahead.