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KARACHI: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s (NEPRA) decision to raise electricity tariffs by Rs4.3 per unit in January-2022 bills was denounced on Monday by the Businessmen Panel (BMP), which claimed that the burden of power theft, mismanagement, and inefficiency could not be shifted to consumers under the guise of fuel adjustment.

Chairman of the Businessmen Panel Mian Anjum Nisar said in a statement released here on Saturday that Pakistan’s industry has been harmed due to the high cost of doing business, which discourages investment in capacity or capability. He called for easing the burden of high taxes on the power sector.

According to Anjum, all expensive oil-based power plants should be shut down in order to ensure that consumers have access to less expensive energy. According to him, old power plants were neglected by the previous government, which resulted in numerous system constraints and heavy losses.

He said that if the Ministry of Energy had timely assessed and managed the availability of RLNG, the under-utilization of the efficient power plants could be avoided. Ministers should play an active role in ensuring the timely supply of RLNG, so that the efficient power plants can continue to operate. As a result, the power sector’s inefficiencies can be reduced without passing them on to consumers, he said.

Due to the inability of the government to procure RLNG to power the plants, this enormous financial burden is being placed on consumers. In the month of November 2021, due to a lack of imported gas, the less efficient plants were used to generate expensive electricity, which is unfair, he said. A better supply chain management can help manage RLNG, which is an imported fuel, he argued. As a result, consumers will not be affected by a lack of RLNG, he said.

According to Anjum Nisar, the rising cost of trade and industry has been exacerbated by the ongoing increase in power tariffs on the pretext of fuel adjustment. In order to compete on the global market, he said that high electricity rates had led to an increase in power theft because the tariff was not affordable for the general population. While calling the government’s decision to raise the electricity tariff by Rs4.30 per unit a “shameful decision,” he demanded that it be reversed.

To the BMP, the government’s decision to raise the electricity tariff by 4.30 rupees per unit is an anti-industry act, and it demands that it withdraw its decision.

To combat this, he urged the Ministry of Power to identify system constraints and communicate the targets to all the relevant departments to begin upgrading the transmission system on a war footing.

He urged the completion of all current power projects ahead of schedule. He asserted that while the price of furnace oil continues to fall on international markets, the production of hydel power has increased.

He argued that policies similar to those of the region’s other neighbouring countries, which are more open to trade and industry, should be adopted. He proposed that the trade policy amount be used to encourage exports by providing incentives to business and industry and by looking into new markets.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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