The country is staring at yet another predicament, a major gas shortage by the end of next year, after recently putting up with the sugar, wheat, and fuel crises.
Special Assistant to the PM on Petroleum Division Nadeem Babar on Thursday informed the Council of Common Interests (CCI) that the country would the gas shortage in the winter of 2021-2022 because of dwindling reserves.
Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the 42nd meeting of the CCI, attended by the chief ministers of all the provinces, federal ministers and other officials.
SAPM Babar briefed the participants of the meeting about the annual demand and supply situation of gas, particularly about future requirements and dwindling domestic reserves.
Presenting the gas production, consumption and transmission data from the provinces, Babar informed the forum that the country would a face major gas shortage in winter next year.
The special assistant stressed the need to build a national consensus on a major push for new exploration and production ventures, conservation of domestic gas and rationalisation of price mechanisms to avert the approaching crisis.
The CII was informed that the federal government was organising a summit of industry experts to discuss various options to meet this challenge. The provinces were requested to participate in the initiative.
The meeting considered the amendments to the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002 proposed by the Sindh government.
The forum tasked the petroleum division to explore the possibility of providing the provinces with a suitable mechanism to provide their input to the regulatory body.
The CCI also considered the Punjab government’s request that it should be handed over the control of the lower portion of Chashma Right Bank Canal from the water resources ministry.
A committee was formed comprising representatives of the Indus River System Authority and the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments to work out the modalities and finalise a bilateral agreement between the two provinces for the move.
During the meeting, the CCI deliberated upon the future role and functioning of the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) and Basic Education Community Schools (BECS).
The council decided, in principle, to transfer the existing NCHD and BECS schools, teachers and students from the federal education ministry to the education departments of provinces. The process will be completed before end of the current financial year.
The CCI directed the officials concerned to formulate a transition and integration plan for this purpose that would be presented during the next meeting of the forum.
The forum also decided that decided that 50% share of the receipts, collected under the head of the windfall levy on crude oil, condensate and natural gas under the Petroleum Policy, 2012, would be shared with the province concerned.
While discussing recommendations of attorney general for Pakistan on the Water Accord 1991, the CCI was informed that a committee comprising technical experts of the federal and provincial governments had been notified to look into the issue of fair distribution of water among the provinces. The CCI directed the committee to complete its work in one month. The participants of the meeting were also informed about the progress on installation of the telemetry system.
The CCI unanimously approved the Alternative & Renewable Energy Policy 2019. It also gave the nod to the placement of annual reports for the years 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 before the Senate and National Assembly. The forum reviewed the implementation of the decisions made at the 41st meeting of CCI.
The strategy to combat Covid-19 was also presented before the forum. The strategy adopted by the government to combat pandemic was appreciated, according to the official documents.