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HYDERABAD: President Hyderabad Chamber of Small Traders and Small Industry Muhammad Farooq Shaikhani has said that the “frequent” increases in electricity rates not only making it impossible to run factories and industries, but it is also having negative effects on the country’s economy.

He factually stated that the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) has submitted a request to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) for an increase in electricity rates of about Rs 3.53 rupees per unit under fuel price adjustment, which is truly unjustified because the prices of petroleum products are low in the international market and according to international experts, the prices of petroleum products will continue to decline in 2024.

He said that the previous and present governments of Pakistan are not working on the main reason for the increase in electricity prices; they are only passing the burden of electricity prices on the traders and people through shortcuts.

He said that the business community of Pakistan is constantly drawing the attention of the government towards the contracts of IPPs which are not only causing irreparable damage to the economy but are also eroding the roots of the country.

The agreements with independent power producers (IPPs) are continued by every government only for its own political gains but the people and traders always have to bear the brunt of this in the form of non-availability of electricity and expensive electricity.

President said that according to the statistics of Wikipedia, the power generation capacity of Pakistan including Independent Power Producers (IPPs) is 43,775 MW whereas in Pakistan’s 76-year history, electricity consumption has never exceeded 31,000 MW; but still, due to contracts with IPPs, the public and the business community have to pay additional bills of billions of rupees every year for generating electricity in excess of their consumption.

He said that due to these IPPs agreements, the country has suffered unbearable losses and not only has made Pakistan indebted to institutions like IMF and World Bank, but has also endangered the integrity of the country.

He suggested that Thar Coal can get Pakistan out of all its electricity problems. With these, wind, solar, atomic and hydroelectric power projects can be used to increase power generation using natural resources. He said that electricity prices can also be controlled by stopping transmission losses and domestic and industrial illegal consumption of electricity.

A systematic policy should be formulated for solar energy by providing 20-25% subsidy to the people and providing solar energy in installments of 3 years which will ultimately reduce the burden on the fossil fuel power generation system.

The Chamber President has appealed to all the higher authorities to re-examine the agreements made with the IPPs and to take legal action against those who entered into these agreements and those who benefited from them should be given so that continuous supply of cheap and quality electricity can be ensured to the people, traders and industrialists.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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