Plan to cut power subsidy for officials

February 20, 2013 - 12:00:00 am

ISLAMABAD: As the power crisis worsens due to rising circular debt, a parliamentary panel on energy in Pakistan has recommended putting an end to power subsidy for the rich and mighty.

The panel observed that the government should withdraw subsidy for powerful people, including parliamentarians, the bureaucracy and employees of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to help ease the debt crisis.

The National Assembly’s special committee on energy crisis met  yesterday under chairman Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The panel was informed that the power sector in the country had eaten up Rs290bn of the budget during the first seven months of the year on account of subsidies.

While briefing the parliamentary panel, Water and Power Additional Secretary Arshad Mirza said that the bureaucracy and parliamentarians had no right to enjoy power subsidy.

“If someone can afford an air conditioner, he should pay his electricity bill,” he said.

Mirza added that the government requires political will to end across-the-board subsidies and put its house in order.

Committee member Bushra Gohar added that the provision of free electricity to Wapda employees should also end.

“The government is paying Rs3.97 per unit in subsidy for domestic consumers, Rs2.48 per unit for commercial consumers, Rs1.89 per a unit for industrial consumers and Rs3.07 for every unit consumed by the agricultural sector,” a power ministry official told the meeting.

Committee Chairman Abbasi said that a rise in the power tariff was an immediate short-term solution to the power crisis plaguing the country.