Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday warned that the country might face increased loadshedding in July.
His comments came during a meeting with the PML-N members of the National Assembly and allied parties in the federal capital.
PM Shehbaz said that Pakistan could not get the required liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply, however, the coalition government was trying to make the deal possible.
Pakistan’s monthly fuel oil imports are set to hit a four-year high in June, Refinitiv data showed, as the country struggles to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) for power generation amid a heatwave that is driving demand.
Pakistan is facing an escalation of its power crisis after it failed to agree on a deal for natural gas supply next month. Tenders for July were scrapped due to high price, and low participation as the nation is already taking action to tackle widespread blackouts.
The country had cut fuel oil imports since the second half of 2018 as LNG prices were low, but it had to at times switch back to oil since July 2021 because of sky-high LNG prices.
PM Shehbaz said that Pakistan didn’t receive the tendered shipments as gas was entirely bought by Europe in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
“The nation shouldn’t worry, we’re trying our best, it’s possible that there may be an increase in loadshedding in July for a few days.”
Earlier, State-owned Pakistan LNG Ltd scrapped a purchase tender for July shipments of LNG after it received an offer that would’ve been the most expensive shipment ever delivered to the nation, according to traders with the knowledge of the matter.
“I am saying this because it is possible, we are making efforts to keep it at the lowest,” PM Shehbaz said.
He announced that the country would begin importing inexpensive coal from Afghanistan in July and use it for generating electricity.
The government will also introduce a programme relating to solar power to ease power woes, he added.
“The [coal] import will help the country save $2 billion annually,” he said, adding, “we will receive it in half the amount of the coal we imported earlier but it will be of the same efficiency.”
He told the lawmakers that the country had successfully avoided a default through it was brought at the brink of bankruptcy of it by the previous government.
On the foreign financial support, he said it was good to seek technical assistance from the allied nations, but the “times of carrying a begging bowl” is gone.
The prime minister also told the participants that the terms and conditions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would soon be agreed upon, adding that they had put forth really tough conditions.
The government, he added, is also working to boost the production of cotton and wheat.
According to the premier, Pakistan has successfully avoided an edible oil crisis.
He also said that the direct tax has been imposed on the earnings of owners of different sectors, saying it was for the first time that tax had been imposed on the wealthy lot. “By doing so, we hope to collect more than Rs200 billion from them.”
PM Shehbaz expressed the hope that “good times are ahead and the coalition government will definitely bring a change with their efforts.”
The premier said that the country would soon strike a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
He said that Pakistan has escaped from being bankrupt. “The rich have been taxed directly for the first time and the country is expected to receive Rs200 billion from the elite class,” said the PM.