LAHORE (Web Desk) – The enormous increase in electricity price that caused nationwide protests and the ensuing monthly bills that customers received compelled the caretaker administration to examine and calm the situation on Saturday, pledging to provide consumers the most relief possible.
An emergency meeting was called at the PM Office on Saturday, according to a post on X, a social networking site formerly known as Twitter, which was made by Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar.
بجلی کے بھاری بِلوں کے معاملے پر میں نے کل وزیر اعظم ہاؤس میں ہنگامی اجلاس طلب کر لیا ہے۔ اجلاس میں وزارت بجلی اور تقسیم کار کمپنیوں سے بریفنگ لی جائے گی اور صارفین کو بجلی کے بِلوں کے حوالے سے زیادہ سے زیادہ ریلیف دینے کے حوالے سے مشاورت کی جائے گی۔
— Anwaar ul Haq Kakar (@anwaar_kakar) August 26, 2023
He noted that after a briefing from the Power Division and the distribution businesses, a thorough debate on how to lower consumers’ prices will follow.
Even though the ruling parties opposed the decision, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) compelled the coalition government to raise the power and petrol rates as well as the gasoline prices.
Therefore, Pakistan, which is already experiencing an economic crisis, may now see social upheaval as a result of these IMF demands.
In the past, the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) requested police protection out of concern that the unheard-of power pricing increase that sparked demonstrations in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi may turn into a law and order issue and cause damage to its property.
In a letter dated August 25, Iesco claimed that staff members were concerned about their safety and asked the police chief of Rawalpindi to send officers to the Iesco headquarters to act as civilians in the shape of groups and mobs to protest.
As people began receiving monthly bills with enormous rate increases, including base price increases and adjustments for monthly fuel charges, a series of unplanned protests broke out across Pakistan. As a result, the duties and fees the government was collecting saw an unprecedented increase, making the total payable amount intolerable for the consumers who had been hit by inflation.
Therefore, in addition to the TV price, these taxes measures also include the fees charged by the power distribution business, excise duty, general sales tax, and financing cost surcharge. The amount added to a bill under each head rises with the increased tariff, with the exception of the TV cost.
Consequently, demonstrations were conducted in numerous cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Attock, Okara, Sargodha, and Haripur, where the irate public demanded an immediate drop in tariffs and the removal of taxes.
The fact that Pakistan’s use of electricity has decreased, along with that of petrol and diesel, demonstrates the total failure of IMF policies and recommendations and indicates that raising prices to increase income has reached its limit.
However, the long-term impacts of the IMF requirements are considerably more disastrous, resulting in decreased economic activity, a lack of investment, and a lack of employment possibilities as a result of these measures, which caused inflation to reach historic-high levels and resulted in a cost of living crisis in the nation.