PM disposes hike in power tariff

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-Directs officials to provide additional supply from National Grid
-Directs concern officials to resolve power issues on an emergency basis
-Interior Minister to ensure all administrative measures for strict enforcement of SOPs to contain coronavirus in Eid-ul-Azha

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday directed to defer an Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) decision to raise the tariff for K-Electric consumers by Rs 2.79 per unit.
The decision was made by the prime minister during a sub-committee meeting of the cabinet on power.
Imran Khan was briefed on the K-Electric matter and was apprised that the power utility was offered to provide additional supply from the national grid. However, it could not be implemented as the K-Electric system could not sustain additional power supply beyond already provided 720 megawatts.
“We have provided K-Electric with 4,500 tons of furnace oil and further offered an additional supply of 500 tons fuel,” the premier was briefed as the meeting discussed options to revisit an agreement between K-Electric and the federal government. Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the concerned officials to resolve power issues in Karachi on an emergency basis and said that the power utility should be provided additional electricity from the national grid before the K-Electric issues are resolved.
Moreover, the Federal Minister and MQM-P legislator Aminul Haque expressed his gratitude towards the prime minister for deferring the matter of hike in power tariff for Karachi consumers.
It is pertinent to mention here that Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal has also ordered accountability watchdog’s Karachi bureau on Thursday to launch an inquiry against K-Electric. An inquiry should be launched for not elevating the electricity infrastructure in the city on modern lines, the NAB chairman said as he directed the Karachi bureau to acquire a copy of the K-Electric agreement with the government and ascertain if it was implemented or not.
Earlier, The government on Thursday decided to increase the power tariff of K-Electric in phases to avoid sudden burden on the consumers in for the sake of bringing the price at par with other parts of the country.
Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting here to discuss the K-Electric tariff and gas prices, which decided to apprise the people of the factual position of increasing the power tariff.
Federal ministers Senator Shibli Faraz, Pervaiz Khattak, Dr Fehmida Mirza, Aminul Haq, Asad Umar, Omar Ayub Khan and Mohammed Mian Soomro, advisors Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Dr Ishrat Hussain, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, and specials assistants Dr Shahbaz Gill, Nadeem Babar and Shahzad Qasim attended the meeting.
While considering the proposal for hike in the K-Electric power tariff, the meeting was told that the power tariff was increased countrywide in January this year, on the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s recommendation. However, the K-Electric tariff was not increased making the Federal Government pay subsidy of Rs 3-4 billion per month.
Deliberating over the matter to ascertain the gas price, it was told that local gas production was insufficient to meet the needs compelling the government to import gas. Moreover, there was a clear difference between the prices of the local and imported gas. The meeting was apprised that only 27 percent of the country’s population was being supplied piped gas at low cost while the rest was using LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) paying a far higher price.
The prime minister instructed for a comprehensive strategy to provide relief to a major chunk of the population and emphasized for a durable solution to the issue through consultation.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the second meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC) on Housing, Construction and Development here on Thursday to review the progress on the government’s recently announced incentive package for construction sector.
The NCC on housing, construction and development was established by the prime minister as he chaired its first meeting on July 10.
The main objective of the new committee is to play its role in simplifying the laws related to the construction sector and for easing up loan disbursement process.
It will also remove other bottlenecks relating to house building finance by working closely with banks.
Moreover, Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday instructed the Interior Ministry to ensure all administrative measures for strict enforcement of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to contain the spread of coronavirus on the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha. The prime minister, in a meeting with Interior Minister Brigadier (retd) Ijaz Shah here, also called for formulation of the SOPs to maintain law and order during the Holy Month of Muharram and their strict enforcement.
The interior minister apprised the prime minister of his visits to Lahore and Peshawar, and the upcoming visit to Quetta to meet the provincial leadership to discuss the implementation of the SOPs. The prime minister appreciated the steps being taken to contain the spread of COVID-9 particularly during the upcoming Eid.