PESHAWAR: Business community here on Friday criticised the government for its decision to increase the power tariff by Rs4.97 per unit during the remaining three months of the current financial year on the behest of IMF.
The government has made a commitment with the International Monetary Fund to increase electricity price along with petroleum products Rs30 per litre, so we completely rejected it, says Sherbaz Bilour, President, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).
Instead of making frequent increases in power tariff, he asked the government to take measures to overcome line losses of power companies and improve/up-grade transmission lines system. He demanded that action should be taken against those people who were involved in Independent Power Producers (IPPs) agreements like crackdown against sugar and flour mafia.
The national economy is already on brink of destruction owing to the coronavirus pandemic, as the business community has adversely suffered from prevailing situations, would not be able to afford to pay off the heavy utility bills, the SCCI chief said. He criticized the incumbent government as trying to ruin the national economy on dictation of the IMF.
After giving over the State Bank of Pakistan, FBR tax system to IMF, Sherbaz Bilour slammed that the system of electricity, gas and petroleum commodities has been handed over to the International Monetary Fund.
He furthermore castigated that it is incomprehensible that the government has pushed the country’s integrity, economy, and economic backwardness and owes people for accepting every condition of the IMF.
The SCCI president continued that there is no justification for the present rulers to remain in power if the entire system of the country would be run by the IMF. He added the hike in electricity tariff is completely unjust and unacceptable to the business community. He asked the government to revisit its decision in the best interest of the national economy, businesses and poor masses.
Sherbaz Bilour noted that the country’s economy has already unstable conditions so after imposition these unwise policies it would trigger further economic instability, hurt businesses and industrialization, subsequently it would increase unemployment in the country. It is completely unfair to mortgage the national economy with the IMF and was tantamount to push the country economy on brink of a complete collapse, the SCCI chief said.
The chamber president stated the government has given autonomy to National Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to determine electricity price hike owing to IMF pressure, saying that the move is an illegitimate unconstitutional and undemocratic, through which additional burden of Rs1272 billion would be imposed on poor masses.
Sherbaz Bilour said the frequent increase in electricity tariff and promulgation of presidential ordinance on condition of IMF is a reflection and sign of a slavery, terming that the mini-budget, ordinance and unrealistic measures a stabling block in way of the country’s economic progress and development, he asked the government to announce special relief and incentives for the Covid-19 hit businesses and industries to revive the national economy.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021