THE FIA has been made responsible on the direction of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for detecting the pilferage of national resources of the country. So the campaign against electricity and gas theft is in full swing.
The government vowed to continue the campaign without succumbing to any pressure. Many big fish involved in power and gas theft have been caught. Some of the accused have been heavily fined while some have been arrested.
These culprits are also responsible for the power crisis besides other illegal acts.
The campaign is a great move by the government to bring the culprits to book. It will help to resolve the load-shedding issue.
The amount which is being received from the accused will be used to write off circular debts which are mounting day by day.
Recently, the government detected many cases of power theft in which government officials were involved. Without the involvement of government officials it is impossible for consumers to pilfer electricity on such a large scale.
Generally, meter readers are involved in taking bribes from electricity thieves.
Another malpractice which is carried out by the officials of the power supply company is that they overwrite the reading of units actually used by domestic consumers. This is done to conceal those units which were not written in the record of big factory and mill owners of the same area.
The main reason for electricity theft is the involvement of power supply company officials. An official of such a company once told me several ways to have one’s bill lowered. The government should constitute a committee which should keep an eye on such officials.
The assets of officials whose salaries are low but who live luxurious lives should also be checked thoroughly.
Using local resources
INCREASING rates of GST on electricity, gas and all other utilities plus the rapid depreciation of Pakistan rupee against all currencies, as well as the combination of the above factors, are resulting in super inflation.
From the present government at the centre, we expect a policy eliminating the perennial problem of adverse balance of payments, to reduce rates of GST, electricity, gas and all other utilities, reducing inflation substantially to make people’s lives comfortable. We have appreciated rupee against dollar at the rate of at least 10 per cent annually.
To achieve these objectives, we must start replacing imported oil by locally-produced ethanol. If we can replace 70 per cent imported oil by ethanol, our balance-of-payments problem will be resolved forever.
With only four per cent GST across the board, Pakistan will get more revenue than ever.
For assessment of public, we all will know that the state is serious about taxes when forms and tax laws will be issued in Urdu and when everyone earning above the announced limit will be taxed: yes, namely feudals.
With favourable balance-of-payments position and appreciation of Pakistan rupee, the much-sought-after foreign investment will be there without inviting anybody.
Who wants to miss an investment in which, apart from the particular investment, there is 10 to 15 per cent appreciation in currency. That is justification enough for any entrepreneur.
Give all the facilities to the local business class. If they cannot do business in Pakistan, nobody else can.
Hand over the sick units to Mian Mansha and entrust Malik Riaz with creation of five new cities with a population of 500,000 each, extendable to 500,000 more. In short, think out-of-the-box and without the IMF and feudals.
SHAHID EHSAN KHALID