ISLAMABAD: Taking serious notice of the power crisis in the country ahead of general elections, Prime Minister (PM) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso on Wednesday approved Rs 10 billion for immediate purchase of oil for power generation plants while another amount of Rs 10 billion would be approved within the next few days for the same purpose, Pakistan Today has learnt reliably.
A well-placed source, requesting anonymity, said the prime minister, during the cabinet meeting, directed Dr Musaddaq Malik, the minister for water and power, that the Rs 20 billion being provided to the ministry should only be used for oil purchase and the amount should not be transferred to any other head so that increasing load shedding could be addressed immediately.The direction came after a detailed briefing by the water and power minister over the power crisis.
“Moreover, the PM assured the water and power minister that more gas would also be provided to WAPDA on a daily-basis so that those power plants which are not generating electricity due to suspension of gas reserves could be made functional,” the source added.The source further said although Minister for Petroleum Wajahat S Siddiqui seemed reluctant on gas provision to WAPDA owing to gas scarcity for domestic users, the premier said solving the load shedding crisis was the government’s top priority.
The source added that both ministries- Siddiqui and Malik- looked on different pages and opposed each other’s arguments during the cabinet meeting. “The prime minister said all short-term measures should be adopted to redress the power crisis,” the source said.Earlier, the cabinet was given a briefing on inflation statistics, revealing that price hike in Pakistan was still less than many countries of south-east Asia, including India and Afghanistan. – PT