Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that his government intends to give a major relief package of electricity tariff for small and medium industries in a bid to encourage higher manufacturing capacity in Pakistan.
Addressing the nation on Tuesday, the prime minister said that the cost of electricity in the country was expensive in Pakistan as the previous contracts signed for power generation were expensive and “had a negative effect” for the country.
He added that the government, soon after assuming charge, tried to increase exports as “wealth generation is directly related to exports”.
“Pakistan is the only country in the subcontinent, after Covid-19, that has progressed rapidly and at the same time, we have been largely spared the adverse effects of this pandemic.”
Referring to the relief package, the premier said it would not only increase exports but also boost domestic industries. The relief package will stay in effect till June 30, 2021.
“We have decided that from November 1st, small and medium industries using additional power — as compared to their previous bills — will be provided electricity at 50 per cent of the rate till June 30.”
“There will be no ‘off-peak hours, there will be off-peak hours now all the time,” said the premier while explaining how the relief package would translate for small and medium industrial units. In addition, the premier said, all industrial units will be provided additional electricity at 25pc discount.
Acknowledging the pandemic’s impact on the country’s services sector, Imran said: “It is extremely important to bring industrialization to the country and the purpose of this is to increase wealth creation in order to rid ourselves from the burden of debt.”
Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umer said major decisions in regards to the energy sector have been taken over the last few months “which have allowed for the announcement of this package”.
“Pakistan decided to open the economy early and we opted for a strategy of ‘smart-lockdowns’ as we witnessed a decrease in Covid cases and deaths, while economic activity started breathing again.”
He cautioned that the country was now seeing the coronavirus rearing its head again. “We have to take all those steps which allow us to curb the spread of the virus while ensuring that people’s incomes are not affected.”
Federal Minister of Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, referring to the relief package, said it was a “tough decision” by the PTI government which has now been approved by the cabinet.
He said in the past, industries would have peak hours between 7pm and 11pm during which electricity rate would increase by 25pc and the practice was ongoing for many years.
“Many industries are unable to fulfill their orders. This package is important to increase production in order to bring down costs and keep industries running during peak hours.”
“Our industries will become more competitive on an international and local level which will also have an impact on prices.”