IMF ‘approves’ Rs15bn relief in electricity bills

 In a significant development, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given the green light to a relief plan of Rs 15 billion which aimed to give financial relief to electricity consumers in Pakistan.

Sources close to the matter revealed that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) played a pivotal role in securing this relief from the IMF, adding that the FBR has exceeded expectations by collecting an impressive amount of Rs 20 billion in excess taxes.

The IMF’s decision to grant the relief of Rs15 billion – aimed at relieving the financial burden on electricity consumers – is a testament to the commendable performance of the FBR.

It underscores the tireless efforts of key figures in the caretaker government, including Caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar, Caretaker Finance Minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, and Caretaker Energy Minister Muhammad Ali.

The relief package is expected to provide substantial benefits to consumers with up to 200 units of electricity consumption.

Sources suggest that consumers falling within this category can anticipate relief ranging from Rs 3 to Rs 4 per unit on their electricity bills.

Furthermore, there will be provisions for delayed payments, ensuring that these consumers do not face penalties for late payments.

However, the IMF set a condition that the consumers exceeding 400 units of electricity consumption will not be eligible for this relief.

Sources claimed that the final approval for deferred payments and the relief package will be granted by the Federal Cabinet.

It is pertinent to mention here that the the relief in electricity bills will be applicable exclusively to bills for the month of August.

Sources estimated that from this relief at least 64 per cent of those using up to 200 units of electricity across the country will get benefited, moreover, the late payments of the consumers falling in the category will not get the usual 10 per cent penalty.

Earlier to this, the caretaker government in its communication with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested a new relief plan for electricity bills.

The government has decided to utilize over Rs 15 billion allocated for the independent power producers (IPPs), to offer relief on the inflated electricity bills, sources said.

“The finance ministry has dispatched fresh relief proposal for electricity bills to the IMF,” according to sources.

“Over Rs 15 billion were additionally allocated for payment to the IPPs in current fiscal year’s budget,” sources said. “This amount can be adjusted to provide relief on bills,” sources added.

“This over Rs 15 billion will be allocated for the IPPs after recovery of installments of bills,” sources said.

“The finance ministry officials will hold talks with the IMF on the new plan, in which the lender will be assured of not providing relief out of the budget parameters,” sources added.

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