- Rs13,000 relief for Rs60,000 to Rs70,000 power bills.
- IMF requests more data on relief ideas.
- IMF, interim govt in talks for electricity relief.
ISLAMABAD: In the midst of widespread protests against inflated electricity bills, the caretaker government has outlined a plan to ease the burden on power consumers.
The interim government has decided to grant relief of up to Rs3,000 to consumers who use up to 300 units of electricity in their October bills. Additionally, sources have revealed that consumers with electricity bills ranging from Rs60,000 to Rs70,000 will benefit from a reduction of Rs13,000.
Simultaneously, negotiations are in progress between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the interim government regarding relief measures for power consumers.
According to reports the IMF, headquartered in Washington, has requested more data from the Power Division to make a decision on various proposals submitted to the Fund, seeking relief from the increased bills for August and September.
Some top sources engaged with the IMF stated, “We have shared the required data with the Fund officials, hoping that the IMF may provide a response today (Monday), either approving or denying the assertions of the Finance and Power Divisions, which are seeking permission to offer relief to the inflation-burdened population through reduced electricity bills.”
“At present, officials from both the Power and Finance Divisions are engaged in intensive discussions with the IMF regarding the data related to the proposed measures to alleviate power tariffs and their potential impact on circular debt, cash flow, and further delays to Independent Power Producers (IPPs), ultimately making the power sector more financially sustainable.”
In response to continuous protests by citizens and traders taking to the streets against the steep increases in power bills and additional taxes, the caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar-led administration in Islamabad has been working diligently to persuade the global lender to provide immediate relief to electricity consumers in the financially strained country, where people are already grappling with soaring inflation.
On August 31, the interim Prime Minister assured the likelihood of the IMF approving the government’s relief proposal, aimed at providing relief to the public, within 48 hours. However, there has been no response from the IMF after the deadline passed.
The IMF was previously briefed about the proposal, which entails scaling down a portion of the tariff—up to 30% for August and September—with the impact of the reduced tariff being passed on to consumers in a staggered manner over six months during the winter season, from October 2023 to March 2024.
As consumers eagerly await relief from soaring electricity bills, the decision from the IMF is crucial in determining the extent of assistance that will be provided to alleviate the financial burden on the people of Pakistan.