TOBA TEK SINGH: The caretaker government is not realising the gravity of the situation as public protests across the country against power bills may take a serious turn, warns the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“It is the fundamental responsibility of the FCCI to convey ground realities to the government and help it resolve the issue well in time,” chamber president Dr Khurram Tariq told a news conference in Faisalabad on Thursday.

He suggested the government to defer capacity payments to the IPPs in prevailing circumstances and give immediate relief to the inflation-hit masses.

He said the electricity crisis worsened when the government enhanced the tariff from Rs 19.4 to Rs 44 per unit. Later, the base rate also added fuel to fire.

The FCCI chief said there was no set formula to work out the electricity cost. “Some people using 300 units get Rs 14,000 bill, others (with same units) are charged Rs. 18,000 and 36,000.

Dr Tariq said critical analysis showed 70pc of total billed amount went to IPPs as capacity payment. He urged the government to issue a white paper clearly indicating which government had signed the deals with IPPs and how much amount had been paid to these units under the head of capacity payment since 1994.

He said universally acceptable transmission and distribution losses were around 10pc but in Pakistan losses were to the tune of Rs 530bn. He also opposed free energy to all institutions.

He said exports had declined from from 15 to 20pc and if we lost hard-earned markets, the economic crisis would become more complicated.

He urged the government to negotiate with the chambers as they were ready to give a presentation and convince the IMF on this issue. He said the IMF had clamped restrictions on subsidies but it would have no objection to deferment of capacity payments to IPPs.

He said feeders with more than 10pc power theft might be blocked to build public pressure on the power pilferers.

Dr Tariq said FCCI was an apolitical organisation and “we will not participate in any politically-motivated protests”.

Senior Vice President Dr Sajjad Arshad said the FCCI represented 118 trade bodies and we would prefer to resolve the issue through negotiation and peaceful protest.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Misplaced priorities
Updated 19 Jul, 2024

Misplaced priorities

The government must call its APC at the earliest and invite all stakeholders to take part; this matter cannot be delayed further.
Oman terror attack
19 Jul, 2024

Oman terror attack

THE normally peaceful sultanate of Oman was shaken by sectarian terrorism on Monday when militants belonging to the...
Urban flooding
19 Jul, 2024

Urban flooding

THE provincial authorities have been taking precautionary measures, or so we have been told, to cope with emergency...
A way forward
Updated 17 Jul, 2024

A way forward

Before political leaders inflict more damage, they must give talks a chance.
Export delusions
Updated 18 Jul, 2024

Export delusions

Plummeting exports as a ratio of GDP is one of the major reasons driving the current economic slowdown and the balance-of-payments crisis.
Diversity in UK politics
17 Jul, 2024

Diversity in UK politics

THE recent UK elections have ushered in the most diverse parliament in the nation’s history. Under the leadership...