Islamabad, August 31, 2023: Prime Minister Anwaar-Haq Kakar reassured the public on Thursday that the government is actively addressing the issue of inflated electricity bills and will present a solution within the next 48 hours.
During a conversation with senior journalists and news anchors about the current challenging economic circumstances, he stated that the government is exploring various options to provide relief to the people. He acknowledged that citizens had voiced their concerns regarding the rising electricity bills, and the government is fully aware of their difficulties.
Responding to a question, the Prime Minister clarified that the Pakistan army, navy, and air force do not receive any free electricity units, and their electricity bills are covered from the allocated financial budget. In contrast, some employees of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) currently benefit from free electricity units, particularly higher-ranking officers who receive a substantial amount of free electricity. The Prime Minister indicated that measures will be taken to rationalize their electricity usage.
He emphasized that the government does not intend to take harsh measures that would burden the people. The Prime Minister highlighted that the power sector has been a longstanding challenge since the 1990s, with past governments entering agreements with independent power producers to address load shedding, which subsequently proved costly for consumers. Over time, issues such as line losses, power theft, mounting circular debt, reliance on expensive imported fuel, and capacity payments to electricity companies have plagued the sector. The Prime Minister stressed the importance of acknowledging and addressing these issues to find a sustainable solution.
He made it clear that the government is committed to fulfilling its agreements with international financial institutions. He lamented the country’s economic stagnation, citing insufficient investment in sectors like manufacturing, real estate, and the stock exchange. He noted a trend where certain businesses prioritize profit over broader economic development.
The Prime Minister underscored that the caretaker government’s primary role is to maintain constitutional order and address economic and security challenges. He acknowledged that Pakistan faces security concerns on its western borders. The sudden withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan has created challenges, as weapons and equipment left behind are now being used by terrorists and non-state actors in Pakistan. While no terrorist organization has the capacity to seize territory in Pakistan, they can disrupt and create fear. The Prime Minister affirmed that Pakistan is in capable hands, and every effort will be made to protect the country’s territory and combat terrorism.
He also expressed the government’s determination to conduct transparent, free, and fair elections and ensure a peaceful transition of power to the next elected government. According to current legal provisions, the Election Commission will determine the election date. He highlighted the potential of the recently established Special Investment Facilitation Council to attract investment in sectors like information technology, defense production, mining, and agriculture, stating that Pakistan has a promising future thanks to such initiatives.