THE World Bank has reportedly conveyed its serious reservations to the top government authorities for not honouring their commitment regarding increase in electricity tariff as per the February 2021 agreement and seeking a new deadline for a hike in the base tariff.
A few weeks ago, Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin had also revealed that the IMF is demanding increasing electricity prices by Rs 4.95 percent.
The fact of the matter is that the power tariff is already very high in the country and the domestic consumers are really finding it very difficult to pay their monthly bills.
And then most importantly, high tariff also makes our products uncompetitive in the world market.
The Finance Minister on more than one occasion has ruled out the possibility of increase in the power tariff saying some other way will be found out to address the financial issues of the power sector.
We expect that the Finance Minister will stick to his promise and will not enhance the tariff on the dictation of the world financial institutions.. As regards the World Bank’s advice for accelerated reforms in the power sector is concerned, it indeed is need of the hour to achieve higher economic growth and resilient recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
In fact, the PTI government had promised to bring the circular debt to zero by December 2020 but it still remains over Rs 2.3 trillion despite massively increasing the power prices.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Energy Tabish Gohar too has showed his frustration with no reforms in this most important sector.
We, therefore, urge the government to focus on putting the power sector on a financially viable footing.
One has great expectations from Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar to deliver on this front and come up with some out-of-box solution for sustainable recovery of the power sector.
In addition, there is a dire need to launch a massive drive against power pilferage. Those involved in the pilferage must be given strict punishment.