Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has honored
his words to provide relief to the common man reducing power tariff by
12 paisa per unit with immediate effect.
Though it seems merely eyewash in the presence of a
large number of levies accompanied by the electricity bills every month,
yet people have welcomed the steps because the government has realized
the hardships of the people.
It is also said that the downward revision of
electricity tariff will not entail any budgetary impact and is a pass
through item of 17 per cent fall in international prices of furnace oil.
I would like to draw the attention of the government that the power
generated through consumption of fuel oil is gradually shifted from oil
to gas fired system. A large chunk of KESC power generation has already
been switched over to gas and in the days to come entire power
generation of KESC has to be shifted on gas under a phased program.
Since Natural Gas is purely indigenous and certainly cuts down the cost
of power generation, its benefit should also pass on to the people
irrespective the wish of the international donors. This is the right of
the nation to get benefit of the resources All Mighty Allah has bestowed
The opinion leaders from different walks of life
however feel that the exorbitant electricity rates is the most
disturbing issue not only for the people in general but is also
adversely affecting the economic growth in Pakistan. They say that high
rate of power theft both in the system of KESC and WAPDA which allegedly
reached the level 40 per cent is mainly because of unaffordable rates of
The electricity bills give a psychological shock to
the consumers when they look at the composition of the electricity
bills. For instance, the electricity bill of a domestic consumer with
390 units finds the energy charges at Rs1208.40 paisa but by virtue of
different taxes levied the energy charges shoot the total bill to the
tune of Rs3700. The taxes levied multiplied the actual bill by three
times. This composition of the electricity bill is however not easily
swallowed by the consumers of average income group in Pakistan. The
break-up of the bill in this case will give an idea to the
Energy charges for 390 units
estimated at Rs1208.40
Additional Surcharge Rs1665
Electricity Duty Rs48.34
Income tax Rs600
After adjustment of other provisions the total comes
to Rs3700/-. This is just an example of small consumer to give an idea
of the unrealistic price level of electricity in our country.
Since the electricity is supposed to be the basic
component of the industrial manufacturing, its multiplier effect on
general prices is burning the candle from both ends. On one hand the
consumers have to pay unaffordable electricity bills while on the other
hand have to bear the price inflation due to enhanced cost of production
on account of expensive electricity.
The step taken by the newly elected government no
doubt is a welcome step; however, the domestic, industrial, and
commercial consumers are of the view that instead of reducing the price
of electricity units relief should be provided by doing away with the
additional surcharge. It is the additional surcharge which makes all the
difference. Previously, the government of Nawaz Sharif had waived this
additional surcharge by 50 per cent but later on this incentive was
withdrawn. It is strongly recommended by all sectors of the economy as
well as the society that the elected government should provide a relief
to the people as well as the economy from the clutches of additional
surcharge, which is causing crippling effects on the kitchen of the
The federal cabinet last week has slashed power rates
both for commercial and domestic consumers with a promise to bring down
prices of other essential items also.
The decision to cut power rates supposedly came as a
rider because the national Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA)
was in fact responsible to take such decisions. The minister, however,
clarified that NEPRA would continue to perform its function but the
decisions of the Cabinet would be binding on the institution.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Minister for Information and
Media Development, while announcing the steps taken by the federal
cabinet, said that the government was committed to cut the rates of gas,
sugar, ghee and medicines. As promised by Prime Minister Jamali, the
government would try its level best to alleviate financial hardships
faced by the masses, he added.
The federal cabinet at its meeting with Prime
Minister Jamali with chair also approved a development package of Rs3.5
billion, which would be utilized by the members of the National Assembly
for development works in their respective areas. Under this package each
member of the national assembly would be entitled to spend Rs5 million
for the betterment of civic facilities for people.
Earlier, the Prime Minister Jamali had announced that
his government would bring down power charges, edible oil, ghee and
other household items.
The Prime Minister said that the government is
determined to give relief to the people and would bring stability in the
prices of kitchen items or at least no further increase in the prices
would be brought in.