ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties on Saturday severely criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government over the recent increase in power tariff, calling it yet another anti-people act of the rulers.
In a statement issued from London, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had himself become “bad news” for the nation.
“How much will you make people cry because of your incompetence?” asked Ms Aurangzeb, who is presently visiting London as part of the PML-N delegation for consultation on important national issues, including the appointment of the chief election commissioner and members of the Election Commission of Pakistan and the extension in the tenure of the chief of the army staff in the light of the Supreme Court’s verdict.
The government has recently approved an increase of 26 paisa per unit in electricity tariff to meet another target before a meeting of the executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The decision was taken at a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet presided by Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Nov 28.
Calls for providing relief to the masses
The increase came into effect on Dec 1 for a duration of 12 months and is not applicable to about 20 million using up to 300 units per month, out of the total 30m consumers, while 600,000 of the remaining 10m consumers would only pay seven paisa per unit as a result of this increase.
As such, the average electricity tariff has now reached Rs13.77 per unit from the current Rs13.51 per unit, excluding general sales tax, monthly fuel price adjustments and other taxes and duties.
The government has in recent months increased power tariff on account of quarterly adjustments for previous fiscal year (2017-18) by about Rs2.33 per unit. The government has also given an undertaking to the International Monetary Fund to ensure “regular and timely notifications for end-consumer tariffs in the electricity sector” through an automatic mechanism.
Ms Aurangzeb regretted that the government during its first 15 months had increased prices of gas of more than 200 per cent. She said the prime minister after “throwing a price-hike bomb” always asked the nation “not to worry”.
Similarly, deputy information secretary of the Pakistan Peoples Party Palwasha Khan in her statement while criticising the PTI government over the price-hike said, “the rulers have started sucking the blood of the people of our country”.
Ms Khan alleged that the country’s economy had been handed over to the donor agencies and now the rulers were planning to sell national assets.
Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2019