Pakistan to implement separate gas tariffs for rich and poor
Dr Musadik Masood Malik, the State Minister for Petroleum, has announced that the government of Pakistan will implement a new system of gas tariffs that will differentiate between the rich and the poor. The purpose of this measure is to provide relief to low-income citizens who struggle to pay their gas bills.
According to Dr Malik, the government will apply “various slabs” for the poor that will be “three times less than those of rich using the same or more gas under the same slabs.” He made this announcement during a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Sunday.
In addition to this, the government will supply locally explored gas or the reserves to be explored in the future to gas-fired power plants for cheap energy generation. The goal of this measure is to bring down the electricity tariff for the public at large. According to Dr Malik, the cost of generating electricity through LNG is Rs26 per unit, while it is only Rs7 when plants are operated on indigenous gas.
Dr Malik also pointed out that only 1,000 super-rich people have captured the country of 220 million people. He deplored the fact that Pakistan provides gas at a much lower cost of “just 70 cents” per MMBTU, compared to rich countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain, where the cost is $2, $3, and $4 per MMBTU, respectively.
He also criticised the government’s policies for creating a divide between the rich and the poor. He blamed Prime Minister Imran Khan for turning Pakistan into two countries, one for the rich and the other for the poor. He stated that “one Pakistan is that where a poor man is sent to jail for stealing bread for his children while the other one is that where a man involved in stealing watches and diamonds worth billions of rupees is sitting in his home.” He also stated that “one Pakistan is for the poor seeking money for medicines, while in the other, the people have been importing billions of dollars’ worth of precious vehicles.”
As a result, Dr Malik announced that the government has decided to tax the rich and the powerful, not the poor or the weaker ones. He stated that the government stands with the poor, which represents around 60 per cent of the population, and that they have either reduced or maintained the gas tariff for them. He maintained that “we are the poor, as we were with them in old Pakistan.”
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