Print Print 2023-09-02

Senate body shows populist approach to power bills

  • The Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat takes serious notice of the hike in electricity prices
Published September 2, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat took serious notice of the hike in electricity prices and recommended that the government withdraw all taxes on electricity bills.

The committee met with Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad in the chair at the Parliament House on Friday.

The committee discussed electricity bills, National Award 2023, and cases of casualties and injuries caused by electrocution.

Power sector woes: ‘Privatisation’ of Discos emerges as long-term solution

Chairman Committee Rana Maqbool said, “It is a national crisis. Many cases of suicide on the hike in price in electricity bills and inflation have been reported lately in the country.”

He said that the committee submitted its proposal to withdraw all taxes on electricity bills, in particular on the under-privileged class. He said that the committee also recommended withdrawing free electricity facility to employees and officers.

The committee chair also sought a briefing from the NEPRA chairman on the mechanisms through which rapid increases in electricity rates are applied and sent recommendations for its reconsideration.

The committee also sought details on the owners of the IPP (Independent Power Producers).

The committee was of the view that it is a national dilemma and the people of Pakistan are critically suffering due to the severe economic crisis, therefore, relief should be given to the people.

The committee sought details on the recent cases of casualties and injuries caused by electrocution and domestic substandard electrical wiring in the country and measures adopted to avoid fatal incidents.

The committee lamented that scores of cases are pending in the tribunal and no compensation is being made to the victims.

It was briefed that a total of 164 fatalities in DISCOs had occurred during the financial year 2022-23, whereas, 106 non-fatal injuries took place.

The committee chair gave recommendations to expedite the disposal of pending cases.

Earlier, in the meeting, the committee discussed at length the details of the achievement of each awardee of National Awards 2023 as per their citation.

Joint Secretary Awards Cabinet Division informed the committee that the awards are being distributed in different fields such as act of bravery, work of distinction or exceptional performance by individuals who played their role in organisations such as the FATF, scientific organisations, and security agencies.

He said that the nominating agencies are all federal ministries and divisions and also include six provincial and regional governments.

It was also briefed that the president of Pakistan has approved 708 civil awards on foreign and Pakistani nationals for the year 2023.

The chairman committee emphasized that the matter is of national interest and therefore, the committee directed that an exclusive presentation on the awards be given in the subsequent meeting.

The committee also expressed reservations on the delay of the proposed law amendment in Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 regarding enhancement of punishment on violations of illegal companies.

The OGRA chairman apprised the committee that the Interior Ministry is not cooperating on the matter.

The chairman committee urged the Interior Ministry to avoid deliberate delay on this crucial issue.

The meeting was attended by Kamil Ali Agha, Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Senator Khalida Ateeb, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Senator Engr Rukhsana Zuberi, Senator Danesh Kumar, Senator Gurdeep Singh, Senator Naseebullah Bazai, Senator Muhammad Akram, Senator Saadia Abbasi, Senator Syed Waqar Mehdi, Chairman NEPRA Waseem Mukhtar, Chairman OGRA Masroor Khan, and other senior officers of the Cabinet Division and relevant departments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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KU Sep 02, 2023 12:25pm
So true for our country and its characters, ''That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history''. (Aldous Huxley)
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Aftab Alam Shahdost Sep 02, 2023 03:42pm
IMF decides indirectly the power tariff and Pakistan Govt. is to follow. The instructions as puppet. This is because of deficit (Our imports are much higher than the exports) we should boost our IT sector by declaring emergency (A service sector) unlike commodity export sector as their export depends on import of Raw material 40-40 equals zero. Pakistan is an agricultural country we hear from our childhood but do not export as much agricultural commodities as who are not based on agriculture. While Zamindaars pay no any tax on their agriculture produce.
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Aftab Alam Shahdost Sep 02, 2023 04:09pm
BOP is imbalance. Our imports are much higher than the exports and we pay the IMF and other international banks debts by remittances from Pakistani workers abroad plus our export remittances. We should boost and take measures to uplift our I.T sector by declaring emergency because our Youth is leaving Pakistan i.e brain drain we can halt them by creating sound infrastructure with the help of NGOs and private sector. This sector has potential to catch foreign currency immediately. Our commodity export sector depends on Raw material import ($ out - $ in) Import of 100 - export of 40 equals deficit of 60 percent. How can this gap be fulfilled. Taking immediate actions
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Lubna Sep 02, 2023 06:24pm
For God Sake, this is a message to establishment of Pakistan that we are dying of hunger and we cannot take his game further. For Allah sake, please end this drama now and forever. The world has moved ahead and we are playing games here through paid parties like PMLN. For God sake, do something and save this country.
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Builder Sep 02, 2023 06:36pm
Well said @Aftab Alam Shahdost. I will like to add to it. If we can't use such a large population, we should strictly control population. It's now haunting us. The poor you are, larger the family unit is which is not sustainable any more. Yes, we need focus on services sector (specifically IT) on war footings. We need to either educate current population or teach them skills so that they can contribute to GDP. We also need to clean up our water system to increase its capacity and ground water replenishment. I'm sure most of our planner know these things and if they still ignore, it would be criminal. Managers of the country need to understand that we are at a turning point where slight mishandling will be dangerous for all of us.
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