Prime minister’s spokesman Musadik Malik announced on Thursday that the government had decided to “significantly” reduce electricity tariff to provide relief to the masses in the wake of a decline in oil prices.
Addressing a news conference at the Prime Minister’s House, Mr Malik said the government had recently reduced the prices of petroleum products and now within a few days “a significant cut” in power tariff would be announced. The electricity tariff will be brought to an ‘affordable’ level. Admitting that audit reports had detected inflated bills in some cases, the spokesman said an increase in consumption by domestic consumers during uninterrupted power supply in July was partly responsible for it. He claimed that there was 12 to 15 per cent increase in power generation in July, compared to the same month last year.
Mr Malik said the process of rehabilitation of people displaced by the military operation in North Waziristan would begin in four to six weeks after the completion of a need assessment study. The government and the army have prepared a framework for the purpose. The spokesman praised the internally displaced persons (IDPs) for their sacrifices and said the process of mobilisation of resources and need assessment could take four to six weeks and after that over 1,000 families living in camps since the launch of the Zarb-i-Azb operation in June would start returning to their homes on a daily basis. Mr Malik said security of the IDPs at the time of their return would be the top priority of the government. The government will provide better infrastructure and health and education facilities to the IDPs when they return to their native areas. Referring to his visit to Qatar along with Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi,
The PM’s spokesman said they had discussed matters relating to a broad energy security framework with a view to strengthening economic ties with Gulf countries. Mr Malik said the first LNG terminal would start functioning by March next year, adding that they had also requested the Qatari government for a preferential rate of LNG for Pakistan. He said the Qatari government had supported Pakistan’s idea of running power plants on LNG, construction of a gas pipeline between the two countries, fertiliser imports and agricultural cooperation. He said the matter relating to skilled and semi-skilled labour needed by Qatar because of the upcoming Football World Cup had also come under discussion. -dawn