LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said the government has raised the electricity tariff because of the tough IMF conditions, but added that 63 per cent of the domestic consumers using up to 200 units per month would be exempted from the power tariff increase.
Besides, he said, a partial subsidy was also being given to the consumers of up to 300 units per month which comprise around 31 per cent of the total domestic consumers.
The federal cabinet approved the power regulator’s request to increase the national average tariff, which will see some residential consumers paying up to Rs7.50 more per unit.
The prime minister was speaking at the ceremony of signing an agreement between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) Trading and the Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) here on Monday.
“We had to increase it because of the IMF agreement but I strictly said that I will not let the increase in the prices burden the poor. The increase will not impact 63 per cent of domestic consumers which come under lifeline consumers and protected segments. There has been no increase in the power tariff for those using up to 200 units, which is 63pc of domestic consumers,” the prime minister said.
He said the government also approved the Azerbaijan Airline to operate from here that would help promote tourism and investment between the two countries.
“We are standing here as brothers from two brotherly countries — Pakistan and Azerbaijan,” he said and thanked President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev for finalizing the agreement.
Also speaking at the soft launch of different economic zones here, the premier said the use of modern technology by the industrial sector would help make exports competitive in the international market.
The premier said the government would provide free land to the investors in special economic zones (SEZs) to encourage investment. He chided the land developers who entered such zones in the past and massively abused this initiative of the government.
“We have to end this practice completely. Industrial zones should not be allowed for business activity of real estate,” he said.
PM Shehbaz said the circular debt issue should be addressed on a ‘war-footing basis’ as billions of rupees annually wasted owing to line and transmission losses and power theft.
Meanwhile, the premier met Governor Balighur Rehman at the Governor’s House.
In the meeting, the current situation of the country, especially the administrative and law and order situation of Punjab, was discussed.
Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2023