PML-N demands probe into ‘the most expensive LNG purchase’

Shehbaz says report validates opposition’s claim of alleged embezzlement in procurement of LNG

Rizwan Shehzad July 31, 2021


Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday demanded an investigation into the purchase of “the most expensive LNG” in the history of the country, saying the government’s desire to make money should be investigated.

The PML-N president, who is also the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, while quoting an international media report about Pakistan’s LNG purchase said it validated the opposition’s claim of alleged embezzlement in the procurement of the LNG.

The revelation has proved that the government was constantly “misrepresenting the nation”. Shehbaz said that PML-N was buying LNG for US$8 while the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is buying for 15 dollars per Metric Million British Thermal Unit (MMBTU).

“The government is paying an additional 22.5 million dollars on the import of one LNG ship,” Shehbaz stated in a statement, adding that an additional 95 million dollars will have to be paid for the import of four LNG ships.

The PML-N stalwart said that this month the public will have to pay 15 dollars per MMBT unit of LNG, which is an injustice. He alleged that cheap LNG deals were available during the Covid-19 crisis but the PTI government deliberately delayed it despite being reminded by PML-N that cheap LNG could be purchased during the Covid-19 crisis.

Also read: LNG consumers pay extra $99m

In September 2021, he maintained, the government will pay US$387 million for importing 11 LNG ships. He said that Trafigura – one of the world’s largest independent LNG traders – had offered cheap LNG in writing but it was not accepted by PTI government.

At that time, he said, LNG would have been available for 4 dollars if a three-year contract had been signed; adding that the government did not sign a four-dollar deal and it was currently buying LNG at more than 15 per MMBTU.

“A cheaper LNG deal would have saved Pakistan 35.2 million dollars per ship,” Shehbaz said, adding if the contract for cheap LNG had been signed, the country would have imported 12 cargoes by now and saved a total of 422.4 million dollars; benefiting the country and the people.

Moreover, the opposition leader said that the PTI government could order at least 14 cargoes but was deliberately importing less and due to this strategy, expensive electricity was being generated from furnace oil. To add insult to injury, he said, that is why gas is not available in the country for the CNG sector as well as the industry.

“If our proposal had been accepted, there would not have been a gas and electricity crisis in the country today and the nation would have got cheaper gas,” Shehbaz said. “This is not incompetence but the result of the desire to make money which should be investigated,” he demanded.

Referring to multiple cases registered against PML-N leaders in connection with LNG scandal, he said, cheap LNG buyers are facing jails and lawsuits while no one is asking anything from the world’s most expensive LNG buyers.

In addition, he said, long-term LNG purchase agreements are signed around the world but the PTI has adopted the method of spot purchase, which no other country in the world adopts.

Responsibility should be fixed and they should be held accountable on grounds of robbing the country and the nation, Shehbaz said, adding that the nation was being looted just like it was looted in flour, sugar and medicine scandals.

He lamented that the direct result of PTI’s policies was unemployment and inflation in the country.


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