The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reportedly rejected Pakistan’s relief plan aimed at providing relief to power consumers who use over 200 units of electricity monthly. The IMF has expressed concerns that granting relief on electricity bills could exacerbate Pakistan’s ongoing circular debt crisis.
According to sources, the IMF voiced its reservations about Pakistan’s relief plan, emphasizing that the circular debt issue would not be resolved by offering concessions on electricity bills. In response to these concerns, Pakistan has adjusted its relief program to focus exclusively on consumers using under 200 units of electricity consistently for six consecutive months.
Under the revised plan, consumers who meet this criterion will be eligible for delayed payments of their electricity bills. However, it’s crucial to note that this relief will be revoked if a consumer’s monthly consumption exceeds 200 units within a six-month period.
Caretaker Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Muhammad Ali, took the opportunity to clarify the government’s stance on the matter. He asserted that the IMF had not outright rejected the proposal for additional subsidies in power tariffs. Ali revealed that the government was actively engaged in ongoing discussions with the IMF, sharing data on electricity bills daily.
One key issue highlighted by the caretaker minister was the need for the government to secure funds to defer the electricity bills for the month of August. He emphasized that while deferring the bills could provide immediate relief to consumers, it would also impose a financial burden on the government, which would need to cover the resulting losses.
The ongoing protests against inflated electricity bills have put immense pressure on the government to address the issue promptly. While the IMF’s concerns about the circular debt are valid, the government remains committed to finding a solution that balances the needs of consumers with the country’s economic stability.
As the situation continues to evolve, both the government and the IMF will likely engage in further negotiations to reach a mutually agreeable solution. The people of Pakistan will be closely watching these developments, hoping for a resolution that eases their financial burden while safeguarding the country’s economic well-being.