ISLAMABAD - The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet has decided that there would be no gas loadshedding in the current winter season as the government would import the regasified liquefied natural gas to overcome the gas shortage.

The ECC, which met in the chair of Finance Minister Asad Umar, has also decided that the recent increase in gas prices will not be applicable for Roti Tandoors and they will continue to pay their gas bills on the previously applicable rates. The decision has been taken in view of the concerns that the increase in gas prices was leading to increase in the prices of tandoori roti and naan.

The ECC has discussed the gas load management plan for the ongoing winter season. The committee has discussed two options either to observe gas loadshedding in the country or to import the RLNG to overcome the gas shortage.

The country would face severe gas shortage to the tune of 2,220MMCFD for upcoming three months from December to February period. The ECC was given a presentation by Secretary Petroleum Division on Winter Gas Load Management Plan. The ECC decided that there will be no gas loadshedding this winter. The ECC allowed the SNGPL to utilise RLNG in the system for consumption by domestic and commercial consumers to manage the load. The gas utilities will be allowed volumetric adjustment and financial impact on cost neutral basis in accordance with the ECC’s decision of 11th May 2018.

The ECC also approved government guarantee to National Power Parks Management Company (Pvt) Ltd (NPPMCL) to raise loan of Rs38.00 billion from financial institutions to meet remaining cost of its two power plants. The NPPMCL is mandated to establish and operate two re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) based power generation plants at Balloki, District Kasur and Haveli Bahadur Shah, District Jhang with capacity of 1,223MW and 1,230MW respectively. The NPPMCL had requested the Power Division and Finance Division to arrange project financing requirements amounting to Rs70 billion to payoff cost of the projects and short term loan of the PDFL. The financing requirements of the NPPMCL has been examined, and it has been decided in consultation with relevant stakeholders that the principle amount Rs32.738 billion provided by the PDFL to the NPPMCL as short term loan would be converted PDFL equity into NPPMCL. The NPPMCL shall raise Rs38 billion from the financial institutions with GOP guarantee to pay off the remaining cost of the two power plant projects.

The ECC gave approval in principal to Ministry of Energy (Power Division) to raise Islamic financing for the power sector through Power Holding (Pvt) Limited. Earlier, in its previous meeting, the ECC had directed Power Division and Finance Division to prepare a joint plan for raising Rs 300 billion Islamic financing by mortgaging Discos's assets. The amount will be used to clear some portion of circular debt which has now touched Rs700 billion in addition to Rs600 billion parked in the books of Power Holding Private Limited (PHPL).