Traders irked over power tariff hike

Government to withdraw the increase to save power consumers and businesses from further troubles

Our Correspondent January 16, 2022
Number of consumers taking benefit of subsidised tariffs will be limited to 13.9m as compared to current 22 million consumers and around Rs42b would be saved per year. PHOTO: REUTERS


Businessmen have criticised Rs4.3 per unit hike in the power tariff by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on account of fuel cost adjustment for November 2021 and cited that it will sharply raise the cost of production.

In a statement on Saturday, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Muhammad Shakeel Munir stated that the hike was not justified and it would place an extra burden of Rs35 billion on power consumers. “It will further escalate production cost and increase inflation leading to a detrimental impact on the economy,” he said.

The official urged the government to withdraw the increase to save power consumers and businesses from further troubles.

“Passing on the burden of poor performance of power utilities to the consumers is not justified by any standards,” said ICCI President.

Munir further stated that for the first time in the country’s history, its total debt and liabilities crossed Rs50 trillion mark. “The best way for Pakistan to get rid of its debt burden is to promote businesses, investment and exports,” he suggested. However, persistent hikes in power tariff, petroleum products and increase in policy rate have significantly spiked the cost of doing business and made it difficult for the business community to compete in the international market, he said.

Munir stressed that electricity was a major input for many industries and the addition of Rs4.3 per unit in the bills for November would further increase their production cost.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2022.

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