Liaquat Ali Khan Jatoi has recently taken over the
charge of the Federal Minister for Water and Power after the
installation of the new cabinet under the leadership of newly elected
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.
Liaqat Jatoi was the Minister In charge of Production
and Industries earlier and carries a vast experience of serving the
people in different capacities including the Chief Minister of Sindh.
Despite his experiences and exposure, dealing with
the Power sector which is a big challenge especially in the face of
growing demand, increasing price and chronic problem of power shortage
especially in Karachi where the consumption is more than anywhere else
in the country.
Currently, the main problems confronted to these
sectors are including high price of electricity, shortfall of power,
menace of power theft at a massive scale and the transmission and the
distribution network in Karachi.
Karachi has a shortfall of at least 1000mw of power,
which is reflected in power supply interrupted by frequent load
shedding, breakdowns and power fluctuations. A major chunk of the
shortfall is bridge by WAPDA, which generally supplies up to 500 mw into
the KESC system. Two small IPPs, Pakistan Steel and KANUPP meet the
In order to resolve the issue on permanent basis, the
government at present is working on two options. One is to construct a
direct link between HUBCO and KESC, which would ensure an additional
supply of around 1200mw direct to Karachi consumers through KESC. This
option should have been completed by now but unfortunately due to
conventionally lethargic attitude of the bureaucratic system, the ECC
and the Federal Cabinet and above all green signal to go ahead by the
President of the country are delaying it for the last three years
despite approval of the project. Once this link is establishes, the
shortage of power will be addressed effectively. The industrial circles
are of the view that since this vital link will hit the interests of
some quarters they are creating hitches for this uncalled for delay in
implementation of this vital link.
Yet another problem, which need immediate attention,
is the exorbitant price of electricity. Although the power generation
through thermal based system is a costly affair due to ever increasing
oil prices, yet the main factor which pushes the electricity price high
in Pakistan are the over taxation on power consumption which needs
Liaqat Jatoi, realizing the situation has conceded
that electricity price is on higher side due to government levies, which
should be, rationalizes to help generating more economic activity in the
country. One of the most irritating taxes on power consumption is the
levy of Additional Surcharge on the power consumption. The consumers in
addition to surcharge and other taxes pay this additional surcharge.
The Minister for Power, during his first visit to
KESC Head Office after taking the charge of the Minister of Water and
Power pledged to take up the matter and would do his utmost to cut down
taxes on power consumption. Brig. Tariq Sadduzai Managing Director and
other senior officials of the KESC were also present on the occasion.
When his attention was drawn towards the fact that
additional surcharge on power consumption doubles the impact on the
electricity charges, he agreed and vowed to look into the matter to
bring down electricity prices at an affordable level.
It may be mentioned that besides the electricity
charges, the consumers have to pay different taxes including fuel
adjustment charges, surcharge, additional surcharge, electricity duty,
income tax, meter rent etc.
Replying to a question that 70-80 percent of the
power generation in KESC system has been switched over from oil fired to
gas fired system, yet the differential of low priced indigenous natural
gas has not yet passed on to the consumers, the minister said that he
has just taken the charge yet he assured that benefits should be passed
on to the consumers as the government was well aware of the difficulties
of the genuine consumers.
He said that directives have been issued to pay all
respect and bring change of help out culture in the KESC to give respect
and honor to the honest consumers who are paying their bills
He however sounded a note of warning to handle the
power thieves with iron hand because they are in fact responsible for
destroying the national organizations.
The KESC staff especially in the billing department
and meter readers would be required to discharge their responsibility
with honesty and dedication any lapse on their part for inflated billing
or accumulated electricity for more than three months would not be
tolerated. Those who found guilty of negligence would be immediately
suspended, he warned in a firm tone.
He said that streamlining of the utility companies
including KESC is under way on war footing, which includes
rehabilitation of the transmission, distribution, and generation
segments of the power sector. He said that the government has already
granted an amount of Rs13 billion for restructuring on the KESC in all
respects to facilitate the consumers.