Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday welcomed the arrival of cheap Russian oil, terming it a great step to improve energy security and save foreign exchange.
Attempts should be made to continue this process after the immediate inspection and refining of the trial cargo to give some relief to the public who are worried about inflation, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that if oil can be imported from Russia, which is engaged in war with the west then why can’t gas be imported from Iran, another opponent of the Western bloc?
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that according to the government’s claim, Russian oil is 15 to 18 percent cheaper than other sources, which will not only save costs but will also have to be paid for later.
Payments for the Russian oil can also be made in Chinese currency, which will not burden the foreign exchange reserves but will help stabilise them, he added.
The business leader said that if Pakistan were to import 50% of its oil from Russia, it would be possible to save one and a half to two billion dollars annually, and this could become the basis for Pakistan’s energy security, which would further improve relations between the two countries.
He said that the move can transform friendship into brotherhood; it will also help to control inflation and balance Pakistan’s relations with the Western bloc and the Eastern bloc.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that India is importing forty percent of its oil from Russia, while we have wasted a lot of time in this regard. Indian refineries are modern and ‘deep conversion’ refineries, producing more diesel and petrol and less furnace oil.
If the refineries in Pakistan are upgraded, more value added products can be produced, which will benefit the Pakistani economy, he said.
In May last year, a litre of petrol was available for Rs150 and a litre of diesel for Rs144. Although there has been some reduction in the price of petrol and diesel by the current government in the past month, still the price of diesel and petrol is very high compared to the last financial year, due to which inflation has crossed 38%.
Pakistan imports more than eighty percent of its crude oil and petroleum products to meet its domestic demand.
The reduction in inflation in the country will be possible if electricity generation is shifted to solar energy instead of petroleum products and also import of crude oil from Russia for a long period of time is ensured.