PM for ‘out of box solution’ to cut power, gas tariffs

Syed Irfan Raza/Dawn News/18-02-2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Mon-day directed the autho-rities concerned to find “out of the box solution” to bring down electricity and gas tariffs to provide some relief to domestic consumers and reduce inflation in the country. The prime minister issued the directive while presiding over a high-level meeting on the issue of prevailing high gas and electricity rates that have made the life of the common man miserable. The meeting was attended by Minister for Ene-rgy Umar Ayub, Minister for Planning and Develop-ment Asad Umar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Hafeez Sheikh, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and SAPM on Petroleum Nadem Babar. According to the Prime Minister Office, several proposals were presented during the meeting to reduce gas and electricity tariffs, especially for domestic consumers. Nadeem Babar presented a long-term plan in this regard. The prime minister was also apprised of the problems confronting gas and electricity producing and supplying companies. Prime Minister Khan alleged that the previous governments were responsible for the hike in gas and electricity tariffs, as they had made illogical and costly international agreements in the energy sector without realising the purchasing power of the common man. “This resulted in costly electricity and piling up of the circular debt,” he added. He said provision of relief to the poor and inflation-hit people and promotion of industries were top priorities of his government so that the wheel of the economy could move. The prime minister was informed that the government was bearing the cost of expensive power plants installed during the previous regimes and the burden of these projects was indirectly affecting the people. The meeting was told that the government had taken effective measures to control electricity theft and as a result generated Rs122 billion in revenue. Similarly, circular debt has been reduced to Rs12bn per month from Rs36bn. The prime minister was informed that the circular debt would be brought down to zero by the end of the current fiscal year.