PESHAWAR: Consumers of compressed natural gas (CNG) have not received a reduction in commodity prices despite the dramatic decline in oil and gas prices on the international market.
At the gas station in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, CNG is sold at Rs139 per kg even though oil and gas prices have drastically reduced on the international market due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government last month reduced the price of gasoline by Rs15 per liter against the proposed reduction of Rs20.68, lowering the price to Rs81.58 per liter compared to the previous Rs96.58. Also, Rs27.15 per liter was cut in the price of high speed diesel which is now sold at Rs80.10 per liter compared to the previous level of Rs107.25. However, no cuts in CNG prices, which are alternatives to gasoline, have been announced so far in a situation when the whole world goes through a financial crisis and energy prices drop unexpectedly.
Oil and gas consumption has also fallen in the country, reducing oil import bills to a reasonable level, but there is no benefit from reducing oil prices but still seeing falling prices on international markets being passed on to consumers or assistance provided in the gas or CNG sector. It is no exaggeration to say that scapegoats are end consumers who have to suffer from high oil and gas prices and are being deceived by gas station owners through counterfeiting in gasoline and filling air in gas cylinders instead of CNG. The government on the one hand seems to be least interested in providing benefits to consumers and on the other hand cannot continue to check prices, quality and quantity.
Ironically, the government or local government has difficulty checking gas or CNG stations where consumers are deceived by filling in oil or air below standard or lower quantity than gas, which has become the main complaint of consumers. On the other hand, the All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) has also asked the government to reduce CNG prices by 40 percent to benefit motorists.
In a recent statement, association chairman Ghiyas Paracha said the price of gas in the country was related to international oil levels so that it could be reduced by 40 percent after an unprecedented decline in crude oil prices. He said any increase in oil prices on international markets was carried out in the country without delay but people would still lose profits if prices fell.
He argued that although oil prices fell sharply, gas companies did not reduce prices in Pakistan to benefit consumers. He said the company got billions of rupees despite knowing the fact that the CNG sector and consumers were devastated by the lockdown.
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