More homework needed

October 22, 2018

Replacement of liquefied natural gas (LNG) with furnace oil in power plants was expected to save more than $2 billion annually through more efficient power generation at 62% efficiency with a lower tariff of Rs7-8 per kilowatt-hour. But increase in global LNG prices and a hefty depreciation of the rupee has increased the rates of imported gas. The PTI government Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan seeks to renegotiate agreements for two LNG import terminals saying the previous government agreed to pay too much on the terminal deals. It looks as if the decision to start renegotiation with the parties has been made in a hurry as usual. The government thinks the Qataris will not be worked up by its unexpected decision to revisit LNG arrangements. It means it has just not done its homework. It has by now been established by its ever changing stance on the IMF bailout package more than anything else. After sending billions of market capitalization to money heaven just because of its irresolution, it has once again thrown spanner in the job by signifying it might not need Fund money after all. There was also the strange technical hitch about CPEC. It all gives the impression, unanticipated as it is that even senior government officials do not reflect on their remarks, in particular about sensitive issues concerning friendly regimes that have at all times come to give support to us in the past. A good number of senior PTI ministers when they make statements look as if they are still in the opposition. The government must understand that comments by senior ministers carry much official weight, more than ever when they are aimed at foreign friendly governments. The sooner the government becomes conscious of this, and stops making ill-equipped clamor, the better it will be for everybody involved and for the country and the nation. What is more, there’s also the constant practice of trying to say what does not fall in their prescribed sphere of influence. The PTI government also keeps on talking about finding solution to all the Mideast and Muslim World problems; such as playing a role in ending the ugly Yemen war and bringing great competitors Iran and Saudi Arabia together. The government has failed to explain as yet, just how it is going to do all this while is already running from pillar to post for seeking end to its financial crisis. Without doubt, it is high time the PTI government stops making casual announcements and takes domestic problems more seriously. Mending relationships with the countries that seem to stand at a distance from it at the moment should be the first priority of the government.

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India lacks conscience