ISLAMABAD: Amid continued unrest over inflated power bills across the country, the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat on Friday termed the issue a national crisis.
Committee Chairman Rana Maqbool Ahmad, who belongs to PML-N, stated that a proposal has been forwarded to the power sector regulator to withdraw all taxes on electricity bills, at least for the underprivileged class.
The committee decided to receive a briefing from National Electric Power Regulatory Authority Chairman Waseem Mukhtar on the pricing mechanism.
Proposes tax waiver for less privileged, emphasises proactive measures and transparency in dealing with IPPs
“We have to adopt a proactive approach, and the committee should know details about owners of the independent power producers,” Senator Ahmad said.
Committee member Kamil Ali Agha expressed the view that since this was a national dilemma, and people of Pakistan were suffering due to a serious economic crisis, relief should be given to the masses at this stage.
The committee was briefed by officials of the power division that a total of 164 fatalities occurred in various power distribution companies (Discos) due to accidents in the fiscal year 2022-23, along with 106 non-fatal injuries.
The committee sought further details on the recent cases of casualties and injuries caused by electrocution and substandard domestic electrical wiring in various Discos, and measures adopted to avoid fatal incidents.
The panel lamented that scores of cases were pending in the tribunal, and compensations have not been paid to the affectees.
It expressed reservations about the delay in proposing amendments to the Pakistan Penal Code 1860, regarding enhancement of punishment for violations related to gas theft and other illegal acts.
Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Chairman Masroor Khan informed the committee that the interior ministry was not cooperating on the matter.
The committee directed the interior ministry to avoid deliberate delay over the issue.
The meeting was attended by Senator Agha, Senator Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Senator Khalida Ateeb, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Senator Engineer Rukhsana Zuberi, Senator Danesh Kumar, Senator Gurdeep Singh, Senator Naseebullah Bazai, Senator Mohammad Akram, Senator Saadia Abbasi and Senator Syed Waqar Mehdi.
Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2023