Expensive power plants set up by PML-N govt behind hike in electricity cost: Fawad

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APP30-16 ISLAMABAD: October 16 – Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain addressing a press conference at PID Media Centre. APP

ISLAMABAD, Oct 16 (APP):Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Tuesday said due to electricity generated at high cost by the expensive power projects commissioned by the previous regime, the present government was facing a loss of Rs 2.63 per unit.
Addressing a press conference here, the minister said it was necessary to brief the people about the facts that as to how the wrong policies of last government had contributed to accumulation of massive circular debt causing huge losses to the national exchequer.
He said presently per unit cost of electricity stood at Rs 14.22 while the consumers were being charged Rs 11.71, thus the government had to bear the difference amount of Rs 2.63.
During the last two years of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PLM-N) government, he said, per unit cost of the electricity had reached Rs 15.53. Due to the difference between the electricity generation cost and its sale, around Rs 36 billion was being added to the circular debt every month, he added.
He said in the wake of its dwindling political fortunes its last one and a half years, the PML-N government did not take corrective steps and pass on the burden of increased electricity generation cost to the consumers.
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), the regulatory body constituted by previous regimes for the power sector, persistently kept on demanding increase in the power tariff to avoid heavy losses to the national kitty, but the PML-N government did not heed to its requests.
He said the Quaid-e-Azam Solar plant was the most expensive solar power plant in the world, which was producing one power unit at the cost of Rs 17. Moreover, the other plants installed during the previous government, including Bhikki, Haveli Bahadur, Baloki and Port Qasim, added Rs 1.34 per unit more cost, he added.
He said the present government had decided to hold special audit of all the liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuelled plants established by the previous government in order to fix responsibility of the wrongdoings.
The government’s objective was to protect the lower strata of the society from the increased power tariff, he added.
The minister said whenever the government took action against the corrupt and looters of the national wealth, the opposition started making hue and cry, claiming that democracy was in danger. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had brought the facts before the people through the media, who had now to decide as to how the country was to be run. Whether the people wanted corrective measures to be taken, or the country should be run like the past when the national institutions were damaged, he asked. Prime Minister Imran Khan would himself take the nation into confidence on the issues, he added. Fawad said substantive measures were afoot to stabilize the national economy and increase foreign reserves. Some $ 20 billion remittances were coming to Pakistan through legal means and it was planned to increase the same to $ 30 billion by checking illegal business. A legal framework had been prepared to stop money laundering and increase inflow of remittances, he added.
He said there would be a lot of good news for the country with inflow of heavy investment during the next few months. The government would definitely give relief to the people for which it needed a few months to get its policies implemented, he added.
Replying to questions of media persons, he said for the first time, a sitting government did not influence the by-elections. Neither the prime minister nor the chief ministers attended any rally in the constituencies where the bye-polls were held. Similarly, no package was announced for those constituencies, while the local administration did not spearhead the ruling party’s election campaign.
Despite all that, the PTI got the highest number of votes polled winning maximum of seats in the bye-election, he added.
About Attock and Bannu bye-elections, he said it was not the opposition’s victory, rather the PTI’s loss as more than one party candidates were contesting against each other in those constituencies.
The minister said Pakistan was no more isolated at the international level and friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others stood by it.
He said 80 per cent population of the country, including the common men, was being protected from the raise in tariff of utilities, but the owners of big hotels and palaces would have to pay.
To a question, he said for the provision of relief to the people the government had reduced the prices of petroleum products.