ISLAMABAD: Despite massive increase in power tariff after coming into power, the ruling coalition of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has miserably failed to overcome the vicious cycle of circular debt as it has spiked to an alarming level of Rs2,536 billion.
The energy minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan told the National Assembly on Monday during question hour that “as of December 2022, the circular debt stands at Rs2,536 billion.”
In a written reply to a question, he said that circular debt flow fluctuates between positive and negative figures as it is linked with recoveries from power distribution companies and payments to independent power producers (IPPs) among others.
He said that the month-wise circular debt flow is: July 2021 is Rs44 billion, August 2021 Rs30 billion, September 2021 Rs85 billion, October 2021Rs40 billion, November 2021 Rs9 billion, December 2021 Rs66 billion, Jul 2022 Rs108 billion, August 2022 Rs131 billion, September 2022 Rs54 billion, October 2022, Rs64 billion, November 2022 Rs8 billion, and December 2022 Rs26 billion.
He said that the power sector has also been facing challenges such as power theft which can only be tackled through effective enforcement.
He said that the government has also started outsourcing high-loss feeders and plan to introduce specific amendments in law to make power theft a cognizable offense.
He said that the resolution of the issue of losses requires investment in the infrastructure of distribution companies, adding circular debt is a multi-dimensional issue which not only needed institutional response but also requires cultural change. The minister said that Power Division has prepared a comprehensive circular debt management plan and related institutional roles have been defined in the plan.
“The following steps are being taken to fix the issues: (i) timely application of tariff quarterly tariff adjustment (QTA), fuel charges adjustment (FCA), (ii) outsourcing of high loss feeders, (iii) induction of cheaper electricity in the system by solar initiative, (iv) capacity cost reduction and negotiations with IPPs reduce tariff”, he added.
Minister of State for Energy (Petroleum Division) Musadik Malik also told the house that crude oil on deferred payment from Saudi Arabia has been extended for further 10months.
In a written reply, he said that crude oil is being imported on deferred payment basis only from Saudi Arabia, adding the last agreement was executed between Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and the Finance Ministry and Economic Affairs Division from February 07, 2022, to March 2023 which has now been extended for further 10months.
The house was also informed that the government is providing a subsidy of Rs92 billion to agricultural tubewells to facilitate the farming community across the country.
To a question, the parliamentary secretary for energy Rana Iradat Sharif said that the government is utilizing all resources to provide cheap electricity to consumers.
He said a subsidy of Rs7.82 per unit is being provided on agricultural connections of electricity.
He said that crude oil is being imported on deferred payment basis only from Saudi Arabia.
Minister for Human Rights Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada said that the government is committed to ensure safety and protection of human rights in the country by adopting legal measures.
Responding to a question, he said that landmark legislation titled, “Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Act, 2022” has been made to provide protection to a person during custody from all acts of torture.
He said that the latest legislation safeguards against custodial torture and the conduct of humiliating citizens in custody while depriving them of their basic fundamental rights.
Responding to another calling attention notice, the parliamentary secretary for communications Shahida Akhtar Ali said that work on the Chitral-Booni-Shandoor road would be restored as soon as Finance and Planning Divisions release funds.
“…neither the project has been closed nor abolished. There were many reasons behind the temporary halt in the construction work on this project,” she added.
Replying to another calling attention regarding the smuggling of counterfeit medicines through the Afghanistan border, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi said that the concerned authorities are taking appropriate measures to check this menace.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023