IS­LAM­ABAD

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

Two new sur­charges in­cor­po­rated in the power bills last week have in­flated the bills of the con­sumers, leav­ing them high and dry. Last week, the gov­ern­ment had im­posed TR sur­charge and FC sur­charge in the elec­tric­ity bills. The TR (Tar­iff Ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion) Sur­charge im­posed at the rate of about 3 ru­pees per unit is aimed at ex­tort­ing money from the con­sumers to clear the cir­cu­lar debt that around 300 bil­lion ru­pees.

In sim­ple words, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment would ex­tort around 300 bil­lion ru­pees from the elec­tric­ity con­sumers to set­tle the cir­cu­lar debt with­out hav­ing its bad im­pact on the bud­getary deficit.

The FC Sur­charge of 43 paisa per unit will be uti­lized for the de­vel­op­ment of Neelum-Jhelum Hy­dro Power Pro­ject and other hy­del projects.

In­stead of mak­ing the power sec­tor ef­fi­cient the gov­ern­ment had opted for this cruel op­tion of levy­ing the TR Sur­charge to gen­er­ate bil­lions of ru­pees from the con­sumers of the elec­tric­ity.

Last year the gov­ern­ment did the same ex­er­cise and re­cov­ered bil­lions of ru­pees from the con­sumers by send­ing

is hov­er­ing hefty bills. And when the peo­ple set on fire their power bills and strongly protested against the gov­ern­ment's strat­egy of fleec­ing the con­sumers, the de­ci­sion mak­ers linked that raise in bills with the faulty energy me­ters.

But this time the gov­ern­ment had gone a step for­ward and levied the FC Sur­charge to ful­fill its mis­sion of rais­ing bil­lions of ru­pees from the con­sumers ir­re­spec­tive of the fact that the con­sumers are in a po­si­tion to pay the in­flated bills or not.

A hue and cry over the so­cial media had al­ready be­gun against the two new sur­charges, but the print and elec­tronic media are yet in­dif­fer­ent to this is­sue.

On Satur­day a del­e­ga­tion of the All Pak­istan Textile Mills As­so­ci­a­tion (APTMA) held a meet­ing with the Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ishaq Dar and urged him to drop the new sur­charges for the power con­sumers. APTMA also re­quested the min­is­ter to clear the pend­ing bil­lions of ru­pees re­funds of the textile ex­porters and man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Like other con­sumers, the ex­porters and busi­ness­men too are fac­ing the pinch of the un­nec­es­sary in­crease in the power bills last week.

To meet its goal of rais­ing max­i­mum rev­enue to clear the cir­cu­lar debt the gov­ern­ment is ex­pected to con­tinue its mis­sion of fleec­ing the con­sumers in the months ahead.

In­ter­est­ing to note is that the gov­ern­ment had made a com­mit­ment with the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund to clear the energy sec­tor debt and in­stead of mak­ing the power sec­tor more ef­fi­cient the de­ci­sion mak­ers of the PML(N) have once again se­lected the con­sumers to gen­er­ate bil­lions of ru­pees through TR Sur­charge.

At present the power sec­tor is fac­ing 25 to 30 per­cent line-losses _ 10 to 15 per­cent sys­tem losses and re­main­ing is the theft of elec­tric­ity. A year ago the gov­ern­ment started a cam­paign and ar­rested sev­eral con­sumers, in­clud­ing the in­dus­tri­al­ists and busi­ness­men in­volved in the power theft, but the gov­ern­ment seemed to have given up that pol­icy.

Alas, in­stead of pro­vid­ing re­lief to the power con­sumers, the gov­ern­ment is tak­ing the harsh de­ci­sions that are aimed at more and more rev­enue gen­er­a­tion from the con­sumers that is an easy way to raise bil­lions of ru­pees.

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