Decision to reduce power tariff protected consumers lauded

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Islamabad: The Chairman of the FPCCI Advisory Board and National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, as well as former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain, on Wednesday, said they supported Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s decision to make electricity cheaper for 51% of consumers who use up to 200 units per month. It was proper to withdraw the increase in tariff on electricity for protected consumers who are facing very high costs of living, he said. Mian Zahid Hussain advocated for reducing the burden of electricity bills on other consumers as well. Speaking to the business community, the veteran business leader explained that public protests and angry demonstrators’ attacks on distribution company employees led to the decision to provide relief to lifeline consumers.
The move was necessary to prevent violent incidents from spreading across the country, he noted.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the Prime Minister’s decision will reduce the burden of electricity bills for around 15 million protected consumers by Rs 50 billion, which the government will cover by cutting the development budget.
The electricity sector will receive a subsidy of Rs. 1700 billion this year, with IPP owners receiving most of it.
The business leader said that consumers who use more than 200 units will have to bear higher bills for six months. This policy should be abolished as it flagrantly violates human rights and justice.
He said that there are about six million consumers in the country who use 200 to 300 units per month, for which electricity has increased by 43%.
As a result of the government’s measures, consumers will have to pay the price of a unit of electricity from Rs.65 to Rs.72 for a unit of electricity.
According to Mian Zahid Hussain, the government will earn more than four trillion rupees due to the increase in electricity rates and other charges. Still, the people and the economy will suffer because of this.
The increase in electricity rates will negatively impact production and exporters, potentially hindering their ability to compete in the global market.
Mian Zahid Hussain further stated that the contracts with the IPPs appeared to disregard the country’s interests. Deliberately renewing the expiring contracts with the IPPs has made it clear that the IPPs and the country’s economy cannot coexist, he said.