Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif announced on Monday a cut of Rs3 per unit in electricity tariff for industrial users and urged exporters to translate it into increased exports for the country.
Addressing the 39th Annual Export Awards Distribution Ceremony organised by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), the prime minister assured businessmen that as things improved, more cuts would be made to help the industrial community.
The announcement sparked a loud applause from a hall full of top entrepreneurs for the great relief and fulfilment of their long-standing demand.
The prime minister said the tariff would be applicable from January 1, 2016 and urged the business community to work harder and produce better-quality goods, generate employment and earn foreign exchange for the country.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Water and Power, currently, the industrial sector is charged an average tariff of more than Rs14 per unit, which has higher peak rates and lower off-peak rates. After reduction in the base tariff, all the rates will go down by an average of Rs3 per unit with average tariff of around Rs11 per unit.
According to officials, the prime minister had specially directed the Ministry of Water and Power to work out a special relief for the industrial sector in terms of electricity tariff.
The government has already notified a subsidised tariff rate for agriculture at Rs10.35 per unit during peak hours and Rs8.80 during off-peak hours.
Domestic consumers of up to 300 units are also enjoying subsidised rates of Rs2, Rs5.79, Rs8.11 and Rs10.20 per unit.
“The government is working on short, medium and long-term projects to make the country self-sufficient in power generation,” Sharif said. “The country used to witness 12 to 18 hours of load-shedding, but today it is considerably less and things are improving gradually.”
He said the government was also trying to make electricity cheap and lower the cost of production so as to make these more competitive and help end unemployment.
He said the issue of load-shedding was being addressed at multiple levels and referred to his visit to the Port Qasim coal-fired power plant and directed that it be completed by the end of 2017.
He said in financial year 2017-18, 10,000MW of electricity would be added to the system and another 15,000MW by the year 2025. He said coal from Thar would be used to generate 3,600MW electricity.
He also referred to other power plants that were being installed at 40% lesser cost, saving Rs100 billion for the national exchequer.
He mentioned the construction of Diamer-Bhasha hydroelectric power project that would generate 4,500MW, Dasu Dam, K2 and K3 nuclear power plants, Neelum Jhelum power project and the fourth Tarbela extension project that would make the country self-sufficient.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2015.