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Nawaz to end loadshedding in three-four years

The government has no plans to enhance the tariff for the consumers using 200 or less units of electricity though tariff enhancement is part of the structural reform of the energy plan, said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in his interaction with senior newsmen at the Prime Minister Office (PMO) on the government’s energy policy.

Malik Muhammad Musaddaq, Special Assistant to the PM on Energy who gave a briefing on the energy policy, assured the audience that power loadshedding would come to an end in three and a half years.

The prime minister discussed various aspects of the energy policy with the senior journalists. Federal ministers Senator Ishaq Dar, Senator Pervez Rashid, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Muhammad Asif and minister of state-designate Abid Sher Ali, secretary information Dr Saeed Nazir, PIO Syed Imran Gardezi and press secretary to the PM Ghulam Mohayyudin Wani were also present on the occasion.

The prime minister said the government was devoting much of its time and energies to overcoming the energy crisis to ensure smooth availability of electricity to domestic users, industries and other sectors.

He blamed the poor policies and lack of attention of the previous governments for the power sector crisis. He further said that not only production of cheap electricity is a challenge, revamping the transmission and distribution system also needs due attention and huge investments.

The premier warned that the government will not only impose heavy fines on gas and power thieves, but also jail them that will serve as deterrent to others.

He said in the US and Europe gas and power thieves were not only made to pay whole bill including the penalty, but also jailed for two to five years and the PML-N government will also follow this practice.

He said the government was bringing major amendments to gas and power regulations which will include imprisonment, huge fines and other penalties.

“Those stealing gas and power are national thieves and if we failed to arrest them, then we will stop bringing the thieves to book,” said the premier in a determined tone.

“If India can generate cheap electricity from coal, then why not Pakistan?” He said the investors generating power from coal in India desired their participation in the tenders for power generation in Pakistan. He said India had been generating thousands of megawatts of power from coal but no government in Pakistan made a sincere effort in this regard.

Talking about the challenges faced by the government, he said most of the state-owned institutions including PIA, Railways and Pakistan Steel Mills are eating up billions of rupees of taxpayers’ money. He said he believes in transparency, good governance and fair play and would ensure them at all costs.

He said those who steal electricity worth billions of rupees should be brought to justice, as they not only deprive thousands of this facility, but also harm the national economy.

The PM urged the media persons to give their input in the government’s energy policy so that the country is relieved of this menace. He said it is a national issue and everybody must contribute to make this government’s energy policy a success.

Earlier chairing the 23rd meeting of the Council Common Interests (CCI) the prime minister said that his government plans to completely end load shedding of electricity within three to four years through a multi-pronged strategy.

Tariff restructuring is the main feature of the new energy policy through which subsidies will be gradually rationalised. The 200-unit consumers will be provided subsidies.

The prime minister said 1400 megawatts of electricity could be brought into the system within one year through proper maintenance of the system. He said the government has to take lead in power projects implementation strategy. He announced construction of Gaddani Energy Corridor, which would provide services to investors for energy production. It will be a hub of electricity generation, the prime minister added.

The prime minister said the energy crisis needs a policy that encompasses all dimensions and also a strong will to make it successful. “The role of provinces is crucial in making the policy a success”, he added.

He said that major problems being faced by the power sector are demand-supply gap, lack of affordability, inefficiency and pilferage and power theft. He said that major changes would be brought about in the system to overcome these issues. He added the country was producing 45 percent of electricity from furnace oil, which was too expensive for power generation and had led to higher tariffs. The distribution losses, which account for 25-28 percent and theft of electricity amounting to Rs140 billion per annum are major cause of the shortfall, he added.

The prime minister said the implementation of the policy would not be an individual effort but a collective endeavor to overcome power shortage and in this regard the input of the provincial governments will be very important. He highlighted the role of the provinces in curbing power theft, asked for their cooperation in curbing this menace and promised all assistance to the provinces.

The meeting was attended by Chief Ministers Shahbaz Sharif (Punjab), Syed Qaim Ali Shah (Sindh), Pervaiz Khattak (KPK), Dr Abdul Malik Baloch (Balochistan), federal ministers Khwaja Asif, Ishaq Dar, Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Pir Syed Sadaruddin Rashidi, Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch and officials concerned.

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