After 13 years, govt abolishes collection of Neelum Jhelum surcharge

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ISLAMABAD – The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has given go-ahead to abolish Neelum Jhelum surcharge being charged to the electricity consumers with immediate effect.

The approval was granted at the ECC meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Friday.

The federal government had been collecting Rs0.10 per unit from every electricity consumer since January 4, 2008 for building Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project.

The government kept on receiving Rs6 billion per annum under the head of NJ surcharge. The fourth revised PC-1 of the project showed that the project cost went up to Rs506 billion but later on it was completed with actual cost of Rs416 billion.

The Neelum-Jhelum hydropower plant is part of the run-of-the-river hydroelectric power scheme in Azad Kashmir, designed to divert water from the Neelum River to a power station on the Jhelum River. It has capacity of 969megawatt. The project was completed in August 2018.

Last year in September, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had issued a directive to stop the collection of NJS through electricity bills.

Meanwhile, the ECC also approved partial rationalisation of subsidies on rates of wheat flour, sugar and ghee in view of continuous fluctuations in international commodity prices.

It directed to provide maximum relief to the consumers despite significant price differential between subsidized price offered by the Utility Stores Corporation and the prevailing prices in the domestic markets.

The Committee also approved a government’s sovereign guarantee for National Electronics Complex of Pakistan.

Besides, the ECC granted approval to technical supplementary grants worth over 859 million rupees for various departments.

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