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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet remained inconclusive to provide relief on inflated electricity bills to consumers, reportedly observing that no relief can be extended without the consent of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar chaired the federal cabinet meeting in which possible relief in electricity bills for the month of July were reviewed. However, the meeting concluded without taking any decision on providing relief on inflated electricity bills. Sources said that in the federal cabinet briefing, it was discussed that the IMF should be consulted on this matter, as it is the main hurdle in giving relief to the masses on electricity bills.

According to the sources, the Ministry of Finance took a stand in the meeting that it is not possible to provide relief to the people in the form of subsidy on electricity due to the IMF agreement. The Energy Division presented various options to provide relief to the people in the cabinet meeting.

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The IMF has reportedly not been taken into confidence on the possible relief in electricity bills. No relief can be extended to the consumers on the electricity bills without the consent of the IMF as it will be a sheer violation of the IMF agreement.

According to the sources, it was agreed in the meeting that the bills will be collected in instalments during the next six months from the consumers consuming up to 400 units of electricity, but this will be possible only with the consent of the IMF.

The Finance Ministry will contact the Fund in this regard.

The Cabinet directed the Energy Division to fix the procedure. The cabinet could not decide on the free electricity units given to employees of distribution companies and related institutions.

During the meeting, a briefing was given on the provision and monetization of free electricity units by the Power Division.

During the briefing, Power Division informed that 15,971 employees of grades 17 to 21 use seven million units of free electricity per month, employees from grades 1 to 16 are using 330 million units of free electricity per month, while 173,200 government employees use free electricity worth Rs10 billion annually.

According to the sources, the issue of outsourcing of Islamabad Airport was given to the steering committee. According to the sources, the federal cabinet approved the signing of the agreement with the Hong Kong Examination Authority, the memorandum of understanding between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on vocational training, and the memorandum of understanding between Pakistan and Belarus.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Shan e Raza Aug 30, 2023 09:41am
Very good approach, put all responsibility on IMF shoulder, all incompetent & corrupt people have gathered in Govts who signed agreements with IPP's & who are executing & exercising these agreements, Kuch Khuda ka Khof karo kis mun sey Allah ko jawab do gey
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Shahid Khan Aug 30, 2023 09:43am
As if we the people of Pakistan have any hope
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Muhammad Waqas Aug 30, 2023 11:00am
"173,200 government employees use free electricity" who is pay for them? ofcourse the common man. govt will spread out this expensive to all those who are paying bills. this is totally unfair. People is private jobs do more work in a month than govt employee does in 6 months.
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میں کھوٹا ہوں۔ Aug 30, 2023 11:40am
As if this interim government has the power to undo the acts of the previous government. Lol. I must say that the definition of Banana Republic will undergo major change citing the state of the affairs of Pakistan.
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Tariq Qurashi Aug 30, 2023 12:43pm
If we are tied in to the exponential increase in electricity bills by our agreement with the IMF, surely this is something the negotiators with the IMF, and the IMF itself, should have foreseen. What practical steps need to be taken to bring down our circular debt, electricity theft, and change our energy mix to more renewables. We now need practical action-not just words. Increasing the electricity bills ad infinitum is just not a solution. We also need to start renegotiating and rescheduling our debts now before the country implodes.
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Muhammed Aug 30, 2023 01:08pm
As a first step, Electric Duty which is collected by provinces be deferred for at least One year. Secondly GST on domestic consumers of up to 400 units be removed. Thirdly GST on different Surcharges which is basically Capacity Charges & interest on PHP Debt be done away with because these are not tangible assets inputs.
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TheActualTruth Aug 30, 2023 04:12pm
@Shan e Raza, Bulleh Shah asan marna nahi, gor paya Koi Hor
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