Udayavni Special

Non-payment of bill: Pak PM office may lose power supply

PTI, Aug 29, 2019, 4:48 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan faces an embarrassing situation as an electricity company has threatened to disconnect the power supply to his sprawling office in Islamabad if the bills worth lakhs of rupees were not paid by his cash-strapped government.

The Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) on Wednesday issued a notice to the PM Secretariat that it will cut off the power supply if the bills were not cleared.

The PM Office failed to respond to several reminders, the company said.

Under the law, the company can disconnect power supply by issuing a warning if the bills of the two consecutive months are not paid.

Due to the non-payment of bills, the company cannot pay to the private power producers which affects power generation.

Officials said the power supply in Pakistan has improved this year after many worst years in the past. Officials say that one of the reasons for low productivity was the unpaid bills by the government departments.

According to estimates, 22,000-24,000 megawatt electricity is needed in Pakistan. This demand increases up to 5 per cent each year. The Pakistan government claimed to produce 24,000MW electricity last year. But even the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC), which is an institution of the government, does not confirm it.

The difference between demand and supply which was 5,000MW in 2013, has reached up to the level of 6,000MW in 2018, according to reports.

In June, Minister for Power Omar Ayub said that power generation improved due to better management. He said there was USD 80 billion investment opportunity in power generation and distribution sector.

Pakistan is facing “significant economic challenges” due to a weak and unbalanced growth and that its economy is at a critical juncture where it needs an ambitious and bold set of reforms, according to the IMF, which last month approved a USD 6 billion bailout package to the country.

Pakistan has also received billions in financial aid packages from friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE during the current fiscal year.

According to the Economic Survey 2018-19, Pakistan’s economy grew at an average rate of 3.29 per cent in fiscal year 2018-19 against an ambitious target of 6.2 per cent set in last year’s budget.

The fiscal deficit was recorded at 5 per cent of the GDP compared to 4.3 in the corresponding period last fiscal.

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