KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly was on Wednesday informed that the federal government had assured the provincial government that there was no proposal under consideration to impose tax on generation of electricity through solar panels.

Furnishing a statement and replies to the lawmakers’ written and verbal queries during Question Hour, Energy Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that the provincial government had immediately approached the federal government when a report regarding the proposal of imposing tax on the solar panels appeared in the media, expressing its grave concern and reservation on the reported proposals.

However, he said, the federal government had assured the provincial government that no such proposal was under consideration.

“In this era of inflation and especially when people are fed up with high electricity bills, imposing tax on solar panels will be tantamount to a total abuse of the people,” he added.

House unanimously adopts resolution asking every person to plant a tree in the province

Responding to a verbal question raised by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan member Quratulain Khan, the energy minister said that the provincial government’s solarisation programme was for the entire province, including Karachi, and it was in its final stage.

Mr Shah said that 200,000 houses would be solarised across the province with the assistance of the World Bank.

“This facility is initially being given to users of up to 100 units of electricity in 10 districts,” he said adding that the programme would be extended to whole of the province soon.

He said that several buildings in Karachi had been completely solarised. “All government buildings, schools, colleges, universities and hospitals will gradually be completely solarised,” he said and added that apart from Karachi, many buildings in Hyderabad had gone on solar energy.

Loadshedding

The energy minister also expressed concern over the prolonged and unannounced loadshedding across the province and assured the lawmakers that he would discuss the matter with top management of the K Electric, Hesco and Speco. “Besides the unjustified loadshedding, the issue of excessive billing will also be discussed with the power utilities,” he added.

He said that the power utilities had been reprimanded for loadshedding during examinations.

The minister said that the loadshedding was being carried out by the KE in an area where some of the consumers had failed to clear their outstanding electricity dues. “The electricity of only those consumers who do not pay their respective bill should be disconnected for non-payment,” he added.

The energy minister said that the power utilities had been assured by the provincial government that all possible help will be provided to them regarding the payment of bills and theft. “The government is aware of its responsibility,” he added.

He said that there were reports of heatwave from May 22 to 27 and the government had taken special measures in this regard, while K-Electric, Hesco, Sepco had been instructed to supply electricity continuously during these days.

Replying to a question, the energy minister said that the Sindh Electric Power Regularity Authority had been established in the province and the power utilities would work under the provincial government to a large extent.

He said that after the 18th Amendment, provinces could install their own power plants of up to 50 megawatts.

He said that the province was generating the most and the cheapest electricity being provided to the National Grid as compared to other provinces.

He said that the Sindh government was providing 100 megawatts of cheap electricity to the National Grid through Nooriabad Power Plant. “Thar is also supplying cheap electricity to the National Grid from coal,” he said and added that efforts were on towards gasification from coal for producing electricity and gas from coal.

In reply to a question, he said that only 322 customers out of 200,000 had benefited under the equity policy regarding solarization compared to 200,000 customers.

Resolution

Meanwhile, the House unanimously adopted a resolution related to the protection of the environment.

The resolution was tabled by Pakistan Peoples Party member Khurram Karim Soomro, who demanded that the campaign “One person — one tree” should be started in the province.

Adjournment motion

Speaker Awais Qadir Shah fixed Thursday (today) for discussion on an adjournment motion given by PPP MPA Nida Khuhro regarding alarming usage of drugs by youth and teenagers in the educational institutions. The house will discuss the issue for two hours.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2024

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