ISLAMABAD: Minister for Power Division Omar Ayub Khan on Monday informed the Senate that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had collected Rs120 billion in additional revenue of the energy sector in just 18 months.

He said this while responding to a motion under Rule 218 regarding gas and power scarcity in the domestic and industrial sectors.

Omar said that the government had started a campaign to check power theft in various parts of the country and in this regard criminal cases had been registered against 30,000 people.

The minister said that about 4,000 persons had been put behind the bars for their involvement in power pilferage while hundreds of employees had been issued show cause notices for their involvement in corruption.

He said that currently, there was zero load-shedding on around 80 per cent feeders.

The minister further said that the government had brought improvement in the distribution system and was determined to end load shedding on the remaining 20 per cent feeders by controlling electricity theft.

Omar said that the circular debt had reached to Rs450 billion during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, adding the previous governments did not enhance power tariff despite the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s (NEPRA) recommendations.

Continued power supply to loss-making feeders resulted in the piling up of Rs200 billion in dues, he claimed.

The minister said that one of the main reasons behind high circular debt was the adverse energy mix as the power sector was dependent on 60 per cent imported fuels.

“We have embarked upon on a plan to reverse this by 2030,” he said, adding that the current share of renewable energy in total mix was just 4 per cent that would be increased to 20 per cent by 2025 and to 30 per cent by 2030.

Omer said that no concession would be given to power pilferers and that the circular debt would be reduced to zero by December 2020.

He said that the PML-N government had artificially controlled dollar exchange rates and that about $24 billion were wasted by the previous government by artificially controlling the dollar rate.

He said that the printing of currency notes by the PML-N government had also increased inflation.

The minister said that oil prices during the PML-N regime had dropped to $25 per barrel, but its benefit was not passed to the public.

Criticising the economic performance of both PML-N and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) governments, he said that exports remained stagnant during their tenures and nothing was done by them to stabilise the economy.

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