KARACHI: Chairman Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Javed Zia has said that Karachi Chamber’s valid demand for representation on SSGC’s Board of Director will be fully supported by him as it will help in bridging the gap between the Business & Industrial Community and the Utility Service Provider.
“This is a very important points raised by President KCCI which is very close to my heart. I will have no hesitation in fully advocating KCCI’s demand as soon as I receive relevant letter for comments about Chamber’s representation on SSGC’s Board from the CM House”, he assured while speaking at a meeting during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI).
Chairman SSGC assured full support and cooperation to business and industrial community in resolving issues, besides vowing to improve the performance of SSGC, whose strengths and weaknesses have a direct impact on the economy of Pakistan.
Commenting on some of the issues raised by President KCCI in his welcome address, Javed Zia advised to hold another joint meeting at the earliest either at SSGC’s Head Office or at KCCI so that these issues could be extensively discussed with relevant officers of SSGC and accordingly resolved. He was of the opinion that other business and trade associations should also become part of the proposed meeting so that everyone could collectively devise strategies and move forward with hand-in-hand.
Referring to President KCCI’s comments pertaining to first right of every province on its natural resources under Article 158 of the Constitution of Pakistan, SSGC Chairman reaffirmed that he will fight for the rights of Sindh province. “If Sindh is largest producer of gas, it must get its due share. However, I will try to logically raise voice on this issue and come up with a model based on technical support from my team in order to create a win-win situation”, he added.
He admitted that gas pressure was low nowadays and supply remains suspended every Sunday but efforts were being made to address this issue and SSGC’s top priority is to improve gas pressure during the ongoing winter season.
Commenting on costly RLNG, he said that under the present circumstances, the industry is confronted with a choice to either have no gas/ low pressure gas or have the expensive RLNG. “If RLNG can kick start sick industries or those industries which are not moving forward, the business community should go for RLNG which will resolve many problems. RLNG has to be taken into consideration by the industrial units because of its consistent availability and qualitative advantages, Chairman SSGC stressed, adding that more than 550 applications have been received so far by SSGC from the province of Sindh and Balochistan for new RLNG connections.
Responding to concerns expressed over misuse of power by SSGC Inspection Teams, Javed Zia assured that the relevant department has been restructured in such a manner that it simply cannot be misused. “We have carried out due deliberation in placing the right people in this particular department whereas a very respectable Brigadier, who carries a strong reputation of integrity, has recently been inducted in this department to improve its efficiency”, he added.
He sought KCCI’s cooperation in making the Gas Theft Operation successful which started recently under an Act constituted in 2016, which also allows SSGC to create separate Police Stations. In this regard, police stations have been created in Karachi, Sukkur, Thatta and Quetta for exclusively dealing with cases of gas theft.
“Anyone irrespective of the fact that how high he is or how influential he is, if he is indulging in gas theft, he will be taken to task”, Chairman SSGC warned, adding that a survey revealed that compressors were being used by several industrial units to improve pressure, which only enhances gas pressure of that particular industry whereas the rest of industries in the same neighborhood suffer badly as these compressors terribly reduce gas pressure to their units. Use of compressors will not be tolerated and all such individuals will be taken to task, he stressed and asked Karachi Chamber to support SSGC in its drive against gas thieves.
He informed that Consumer Response Department was also being improved through internal changes and reconstitution of some departments within the organization.
Earlier, President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik pointed out that despite producing 69 percent of the total natural gas, Sindh hardly receives around 28 to 30 percent of gas. The abundant gas should initially be made available to Industries in Sindh and the surplus gas should be subsequently extended to other provinces, he demanded.
He said that the government, instead of providing cheaper gas to Sindh from its own resources, announced to supply quite expensive imported Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) which is a sheer injustice and completely unacceptable to the business and industrial community of Karachi.
“Why are we being provided RLNG when we have surplus gas resources”, he asked, adding that RLNG should be supplied to those areas and provinces of the country where very limited or zero gas reserves were available.
Expressing concerns over suspension of gas supply to industrial units on Sundays, Muffasar Malik said that it creates a lot of problems, particularly for those industrialists who have to meet their deadlines for the export shipments. “Although assurances have been given from time to time but no relief has been provided so far as the industries continue to suffer gas load shedding every Sunday which requires immediate attention”, he added.
He said that low gas pressure was also another serious issue being suffered by many industrial units and also by domestic consumers, particularly during winter season, which has to be addressed by SSGC.
To further streamline and stabilize gas distribution, President KCCI advised that gas supplies to CNG stations and the industry have to be segregated which would certainly improve the situation.
He also expressed concerns over deteriorating performance of SSGC’s Response/ Maintenance Teams nowadays as compared to what it had been in the past. “Chairman SSGC must strictly deal with this issue to improve the efficiency of SSGC’s Response/ Maintenance Team, which will be widely appreciated by the business and industrial community of Karachi”, he added.
In order to bring gas-related issues being suffered by the business and industrial community of Karachi, Muffasar Malik proposed to induct Karachi Chamber’s representative on SSGC’s Board which would yield positive results and create an enabling business environment.
Expressing concerns over refusal to give new gas connections, he said that hundreds of applications were lying pending for new gas connections who are now being provided an opportunity to go for RLNG connection but who is going to go for an expensive gas in the ongoing competitive era in which Pakistani producers and exporters have already been facing tough time from its competitors.
Referring to UFG issue, President KCCI suggested that instead of applying UFG cost across the board, it will be more prudent to pass on this cost according to the thefts taking place in different areas of country. “UFG losses should be evaluated area-wise and recovery should be applied exactly according to volume of theft in each area”, he stressed.