Brace Yourselves: Gas Bills in Pakistan Set to Skyrocket Again

Brace Yourselves: Gas Bills in Pakistan Set to Skyrocket Again

Pakistanis are in for another financial blow as the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has authorized a significant increase in natural gas tariffs for the second time this fiscal year (2023-24). This comes on top of already rising gas prices and overall inflation, further squeezing household budgets.

Double Whammy: Rising Gas Prices

The latest hike applies to both Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL). SNGPL consumers will face a staggering 35.13% surge in gas prices, while SSGCL customers will see an increase of 8.57%.

This follows OGRA’s February 2nd, 2024 recommendation for a substantial average gas price rise to Rs1,590 per MMBTU (Metric Million British Thermal Unit). This is a significant jump from the previous rate of Rs1,291 established in June 2023.

Effective Immediately: Impact on Consumers

The revised rates, effective from January 1, 2024, mark the second gas price adjustment within the ongoing financial year. This move aims to address a staggering Rs98 billion shortfall in the national economy.

The decision aligns with pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for biannual gas price revisions to tackle the growing circular debt burden, currently at a staggering Rs1,250 billion.

Breaking Down the Numbers

As a result of OGRA’s decision, Sui Northern’s gas tariffs have skyrocketed to Rs1,673.82 per MMBTU, a sharp rise from the previous rate of Rs1,238.68. Similarly, Sui Southern’s gas tariffs have climbed to Rs1,466.40 per MMBTU, up from Rs1,350.68 per MMBTU.

Public Outcry: Unbearable Burden

This news has sparked outrage among many Pakistanis, who view the second gas hike within a short period as an unbearable burden. With high inflation rates already squeezing household budgets, affording essential utilities is becoming an increasing concern for ordinary citizens.

Government’s Role: Balancing Revenue and Affordability

Pakistan’s caretaker government, led by Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, had previously increased gas prices by up to 193% from November 2023 to June 2024. This move aimed to generate Rs980 billion in revenue for the government.

However, the balancing act between generating revenue and ensuring affordability for the public is a delicate one. The government faces a tough challenge in addressing the country’s economic woes without further straining the financial resources of its citizens.

Looking Ahead: Uncertain Future

With fuel prices also revised upwards in February 2024, and the ongoing economic difficulties, Pakistanis face an uncertain financial future. The impact of these rising costs on daily life and economic activity remains to be seen.

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