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ISLAMABAD: The federal government has reportedly “shelved” a concessional electricity tariff of Rs13/kWh for the agriculture sector after Power Division raised serious concerns, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

Recently, IMF raised serious reservations against the government’s package for the agriculture sector and concessional electricity for export-oriented sectors and sought a reversal of both decisions or to compensate through new tax measures (mini-budget).

On November 14, 2022, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research briefed the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet that pursuant to the announcement of Kissan Package by the Prime Minister on October 31, 2022, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research initiated the work on the Package for vetting the financial outlays and responsibilities in consultation with the concerned Ministries/ Divisions.

The ECC was further informed that the Finance Division, Power Division and Industries & Production Division had provided inputs on the proposals. The Ministry submitted the finalized draft of the Kissan Package to the ECC for consideration and requested for approval of the following proposals: (i) Kissan Package may be approved; and (ii) concerned Ministries/ Divisions may be directed to implement the same in letter and spirit.

Power tariffs: FPA returns to mean

According to sources, the ECC held threadbare discussion on proposed Kissan Package, 2022 and observed that it would be appropriate that words expansion may be removed.

Secretary Power Division Rashid Mahmood Langrial shared the concerns over proposed fixation of tariff at Rs.13/unit for electrical tube-wells. Observations were shared over the proposed tariff of Rs.l3/unit and it was suggested that it should be reviewed in a holistic manner before including it in the Package. The forum after a detailed discussion agreed that the proposed incentive in Kissan Package 2022 may be reviewed in light of observations of Power Division, prior to its inclusion in the said Package.

The Federal Government’s over Rs 300 billion are stuck in Balochistan against provision of concessional electricity tariff to agriculture consumers as neither provincial government nor the farmers are ready to pay their due share of Rs 10,000 per month.

The sources said Ministry of National Food Security and Research has convened an inter-ministerial meeting to discuss the issue of electricity for agriculture tube-wells.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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