ECC to decide electricity tariff hike in next meeting  

KARACHI: After an increase in the gas tariff, the government has further deferred the increase of electricity by Rs3.75 per unit to the next meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).

The issue of electricity tariffs was taken up on Tuesday during an ECC meeting chaired by Finance Minister Asad Umar. The cabinet however, deferred the matter for the next meeting, sources in the industry informed.

The federal government had already prepared a summary regarding a hike in power tariffs. “Recommendations have been made for an increase in prices for the years 2016-17 and 2017-18 as per which the price per unit is expected to rise to Rs3.75,” sources said.

“With the recommended rise in power tariff, an additional Rs400 billion per month is expected to be collected from consumers,” sources added.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Energy Umar Ayub said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed to reduce the burden on the common man.

The finance minister said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had reduced the burden on the common man as compared to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government which had levied taxes on items necessary for a common man and increased electricity prices. However, the incumbent government had only imposed taxes on luxury cars and expensive mobile phones, the minister said.

Information and broadcasting minister Fawad Choudhry also clarified that no decision regarding a hike in power tariffs was taken during the ECC meeting. “Federal minister for Energy Umar Ayub is out of town and a decision will be taken during the next ECC meeting,” he added.

He further announced that the federal government has decided to conduct an audit of power plants set up by the previous PML-N led government.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the information minister said, “The PML-N government signed agreements to produce electricity at extremely high costs.”

“Quaid-e-Azam solar plant is the most expensive power plant in the world,” he claimed.

The minister further said, “The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has initiated an inquiry against LNG plants set-up in Punjab.”

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Arshad Hussain
The author is business reporter at Pakistan Today. He can be reached at ar[email protected] He tweets @ArshadH47736937
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