A month after the caretakers burdened the masses with a gas price hike on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) demand, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has requested the fuel regulator — the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) — to further increase gas prices from July 2024.

The caretaker government had approved a 67% increase in the natural gas tariff with effect from February 1. The tariff was hiked to meet the deadline of IMF for hiking the gas price under structural benchmark criteria till February 15, 2024.

In its fresh plea filed with Ogra, SSGC requested the fuel regulator to increase the gas price by Rs274.40 per Metric Million British Thermal Unit (mmbtu). Citing an estimated Rs79.63 billion revenue shortfall, the SSGC urged Ogra to set average price of one mmbtu gas at Rs1,740.80.

A public hearing on the petition is scheduled on March 18 in Karachi, during which the regulatory authority will determine the gas prices. Ogra will also hear the petition in Quetta on March 20.

It is pertinent to mention here that the IMF wants the government to implement the gas review implementation biannually to reduce the circular debt.

Amid the ongoing economic crisis, the newly elected government would make a formal request to the IMF for a longer and larger size of fresh

bailout package under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) next month.

The country is expected to seek a fresh IMF bailout package of over $8 billion with the possibility of augmentation through climate finance on the occasion of upcoming spring meetings of Breton Wood Institutions, known as the IMF/World Bank, scheduled to be held in Washington, DC, from April 15 to 20.

A Pakistani delegation, led by Minister for Finance Muhammad Aurangzeb and comprising Finance Secretary Imdadullah Bosal, Secretary EAD Kazim Niaz and Governor State Bank of Pakistan Jamil Ahmed, will participate in the meetings.

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