PM announces FCA exemption for 17m power consumers

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Constitution PM

Ends fixed tax for traders

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday announced that 17 million of the total power consumers will be exempted from paying the high fuel charges adjustment (FCA) in their electricity bills.

In a video address from Qatar, where he is on a two-day trip, the prime minister explained the mechanics behind why FCA was levied and said it had seen a “considerable increase” for July and August’s power bills, because of high international oil prices, which was “intolerable” for the common man.

He said that after consulting with the International Monetary Fund, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and other coalition leaders, it was decided that 17.1m electricity consumers would not have to pay the FCA.

He added that the government was also reviewing the situation for the rest of the 13m power consumers who, PM Shehbaz said, were in a better financial position.

Shehbaz said Power Minister Khurram Dastgir would hold a detailed press conference on the matter on Wednesday as he detailed the mechanism behind the announcement and how it would practically work.

The prime minister added that the FCA exemption would also apply to tube well users, which he said numbered around 300,000.

“I hope from these measures there will be contentment among the people and they would realise that the government is trying to improve their situation.”

Later, the PML-N tweeted that the relaxation would apply to those whose consumption in terms of units of electricity was low.

While addressing the nation from Doha, the PM also talked about the government’s measures to reduce the inflationary burden on the public, particularly small traders.

The prime minister announced the abolition of a fixed tax on traders. A fixed monthly tax of varying amounts on retailers was proposed by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail recently in a bid to bring them into the tax net as well as shore up much-needed reserves.

Earlier this month, Ismail said the government was withdrawing the proposal.

“We have removed fixed tax on traders, as we cannot put them through difficulty,” Shehbaz said in Doha, adding that the government is trying to control inflation by “working day and night”.

 

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