Anwaarul Haq Kakar says govt exploring realistic options to provide relief to consumers n Tells foreign media all registered political parties will be provided level playing field to contest general elections n MQM leaders, finance minister, Admiral (r) Asif Sandila call on PM Kakar.
ISLAMABAD - Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar Monday ordered immediate action against those involved in power theft in the country and asked relevant authorities to submit reports in this regard on the daily basis.
Chairing a meeting, the prime minister also directed to take swift action against electricity defaulters, saying there should not be any leniency towards electricity thieves and the defaulters.
During the meeting, the prime minister was briefed in detail about all sections of the energy sector. The meeting was informed about the total installed capacity, actual generation and overall energy supply during various seasons. The prime minister was also informed about the energy mix in power production.
PM Kakar stressed that in future, renewable and hydel sources of energy should be given top priority to produce inexpensive and green energy in the country. He also directed to take effective measures to reduce the line losses of the power distribution companies. "A comprehensive plan should also be prepared and presented to implement the transformer metering project."
He said projects of small hydel power projects should be planned under the guidance of relevant experts.
Such projects will not only generate low-cost electricity but also help in reducing the harmful effects of climate change, he said, adding local coal should be preferred, instead of expensive imported coal in coal power generation projects. The prime minister also directed to immediately start work on the construction of 2400 MW solar power projects while ensuring transparency in the entire process.
The government, he said would take all possible steps to reduce the circular debt of the power sector. The meeting was also informed about the progress on the establishment of the electricity energy market in the country.
It was informed in the meeting that with the establishment of energy market in the country, the performance and capacity of the power sector would be effectively increased that would eventually help 27 million domestic consumers. It was also informed that most of the work by the Power Division had already been completed in this regard.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has assured that his government is exploring realistic options to come up with out-of-box solutions to provide relief to electricity consumers.
During an interaction with foreign media representatives in Islamabad, he said the government would make informed decisions to satisfy the masses on the issue of electricity bills without deviating from the country’s commitments with the international financial institutions.
Mentioning the issues of circular debt, power theft and taxes, the prime minister said the government would introduce short-term solutions to the issue without undermining the agitating people.
He assured that the caretaker government is mandated to facilitate holding the general elections as early as possible while observing the constitutional obligations.
Anwaarul Haq Kakar said the Constitution called for carrying out the delimitation of constituencies following the population census. He said without redesigning the government structure, the interim setup is mainly focused on rearranging the fiscal and monetary policies to build an edifice for economic revival.
Calling the Special Investment Facilitation Council a strategy for economic revival, he said it focused on agriculture, mines and minerals, defence production and information technology.
However, he also spelled out the economic reform agenda of his government, saying that the imminent steps included the privatisation of two or more power distribution companies.
The prime minister said the government is pursuing a policy of doing the doable and providing a strategic direction to economic planning. To a question, he said all the registered political parties would be provided a level playing field to contest the general elections without any discrimination. However, he said in certain instances, political behaviour turned into vandalism and the country’s law was already in vogue to deal with such conduct.
Talking about the terror attacks by the TTP, the prime minister drew attention to the leftover military equipment by the United States and allied forces back in Afghanistan, which, he viewed, were becoming a threat to peace thus necessitating a coordinated approach to deal with the challenge. He said the foreign forces left Afghanistan after losing interest but we are here to defend our home, children, mosques and places of worship.
He said the Pak-Afghan ties are deeply rooted in cultural and faith-based linkages as well as social integration. Pakistan showed magnanimity to the Afghan refugees and the government is coming up with a policy to address the challenge of illegal immigrants, he added.
The prime minister said regardless of any political association, the people of Balochistan welcomed every project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which had entered the second phase.
He reiterated the government’s resolve to go to any extent to protect the Chinese workers taking part in the CPEC projects. Referring to the massive reserves worth 6 trillion dollars of copper and gold in Balochistan, the prime minister said the Reko Diq project is about to start soon.
He called for all the stakeholders to formulate a model to explore the mineral-rich area to make the world see Pakistan through a different prism.
The prime minister expressed the hope that foreign investment projects worth 25 billion dollars each from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East would realize in a time span of two to five years.
About the May 9 riots, he said the attack on the military installations was an attempt to create societal disorder, and that existential threat needed a lawful response and he supported the laws to curb such behaviour.
Pak-IMF talks underway to provide relief to inflation-hit people Meanwhile, a local news channel late Monday claimed that the caretaker government had reportedly chalked out a plan to provide relief to the power consumers. Citing sources, the TV channel went on to say that the interim government had decided to provide relief of up to Rs3,000 to consumers using up to 300 units in October’s electricity bills.
Likewise, the power consumers whose electricity bills are of Rs60,000 to Rs70,000, will benefit from a reduction of Rs13,000. The insiders, according to the report, say that talks between the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the caretaker government are underway on the matter of providing relief to the power consumers.
Another media report says that the Washington-based global lender had sought more data from the Power Division for its decision on various suggestions forwarded to the Fund seeking relief in the increased bills for August and September.
“We have shared the required data with the Fund people hoping that IMF may today (Monday) come up with its response with a yes or no to the assertions of the Finance and Power Divisions, seeking permission for relief to inflation-stricken people in electricity bills,” says the media report.
“ At the moment, authorities of both Power and Finance divisions are in hectic talks with the Fund.” Following continuous protests by citizens and traders, who have taken to the streets against the exorbitant hikes in power bills and addition of taxes, the caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar-led setup in Islamabad has been trying to woo the global lender to agree to provide immediate relief for electricity consumers in the cash-strapped country, where people are already battered by skyrocketing inflation.
The interim premier, on August 31, had assured about the likelihood of the Fund nodding to the government’s relief-related proposal — aimed at providing relief to the public — in 48 hours, but it kept waiting to hear back after the deadline elapsed.
The IMF was earlier briefed about the said proposal, under which some portion of the tariff — up to 30% for August and September — would be scaled down and the impact of reduced tariff would be passed on to consumers in six months of the winter season, from October 2023 to March 2024 in a staggered manner.
‘STRATEGY FOR ECONOMIC STABILITY’
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar Monday directed the Ministry of Finance to devise an effective strategy to bring economic stability in the country. The prime minister said this in a meeting with Interim Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar who called on him here. The finance minister also briefed the prime minister on the current economic situation in the country.
MQM LEADERS, ADMIRAL (R) ASIF SANDILA CALL
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders Mustafa Kamal and Anis Qaimkhani called on Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Monday and discussed matters relating to mutual interests.
During the meeting, both leaders discussed the problems of Karachi with the prime minister and thanked him for taking steps to resolve those issues, a press release issued by the PM Office Media Wing said.
Also, Admiral (R) Muhammad Asif Sandila called on Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Monday and discussed matters relating to mutual interests.
Asif Sandila congratulated the prime minister on assuming the charge of his office and expressed best wishes for him. PM Kakar appreciated the services of ‘Moawin Foundation’, which was working for the welfare of marginalized segments of rural areas under the leadership of Asif Sandila.