Culture of non-payment of bills

AN investigative report appearing in this newspaper has revealed that power sector continues to be black hole in the economy as receivables of Pakistan Electric Power company that regulates the whole sector have surged to Rs 684.06 billion. It says payables have further jacked up by Rs 299.06 billion in financial year 2015-16 alone.
This is indicative of the sorry state of affairs in the power sector and until and unless all stakeholders join their hands, the situation is unlikely to change and the national exchequer would continue to suffer hugely. The country is investing thousands of billions of rupees on establishment of new power plants based on hydel, thermal, nuclear, solar and wind resources. However, Provincial governments, Federal Government departments and industrial, commercial and domestic consumers owe billions of rupees and are not ready to clear their dues. So much so that electricity theft has become a norm both in urban and rural Sindh as well as some areas of KPK where there are even no meters at all. Some consumers are running factories on direct lines and Discos are unable to take any action against them as the Provincial governments are not ready to extending a helping hand. Regrettably, elected representative raise hue and cry in the Senate and National Assembly as well as in the Provincial Assemblies about prolonged hours of load-shedding but they are not willing to go into its causes and are shy of referring to theft in their areas. And unfortunately, this culture is not confined to power sector alone as there are also loan defaults of banks and people including influential ones do not pay their due taxes and as a consequence common man is burdened through indirect taxation, which has become a popular tool in the hands of the Government. Ministry of Finance and FBR have introduced many reforms but still there is much room for expanding tax net and plugging leakages.

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