New petroleum policy by month end: Sarwar Khan

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DNA
ISLAMABAD
Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan has said that the new petroleum policy will be announced in the last week of the current month after completing necessary consultations with the provinces.
Winding up the debate on oil and gas price hike in the Senate, he said the incumbent government would soon present ten new blocks for exploration to national and international exploration companies through open bidding. During last decade, no government concentrated on exploring oil and gas despite immense potential.
The government, he said, has decided to give adequate representation to provinces in Boards of Directors of 15 companies working under Ministry of Petroleum as previous government had neglected provinces.
He lamented that the stone lying ceremony of Diamer-Bhasha dam had been conducted thrice in the last 14 years by three successive governments.
During the last five years, the money allocated for construction of Diamer Bhasha was utilized in constructing underpasses, he said.
The Minister said Neelum Jhelum hydro power generation project was completed by spending Rs 506 billion despite hading initial cost of only Rs 84 billion. The profit making Pakistan Steel Mills had endured whooping losses of Rs 470 billion thanks to policies of PML-N government, he expressed.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the initial cost of Islamabad Airport was Rs 38 billion, but it was completed by spending over 1 trillion rupees. He told the Upper House that the profit making Sui Southern Gas Pipelines Limited (SSGPL) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) endured Rs 158 million losses for the first time in history during PML-N’s rule.
The government, he said has decreased sales tax ratio on LPG from 17 percent to 10 percent. Country’s petroleum prices are lowest in the region.
The Federal Investigation Agency and National Accountability Bureau are currently examining the LNG deal with the help of experts, he added.
Refuting the Opposition’s claim that the government has burdened the poor by hiking gas prices, he said that gas prices had been increased by 10 to 15pc for the majority of consumers using 50 to 200 cubic metres of gas per month.
The increase has been made to meet the deficit facing gas supply companies such as Sui Northern Gas Pipelines and Sui Southern Gas Company, he added.
He said there was no power, energy, water crisis in the country during 1970s. Power generation agreements were inked with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in haphazard manner and on higher prices as comparing to such agreements inked by other countries. The issue of constructing new dams was politicized by vested interests, he told.