Pakistan’s proposal to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been sent back with preconditions set to comply before providing any relief in electricity bills to the consumers.
IMF’s response comes after the Pakistan government requested its approval to provide relief to consumers, who have been protesting against power tariffs and imposed taxes in their electricity bills.
According to the details, the IMF has demanded the Pakistan government to withdraw the subsidy it is providing on gas, which is being supplied to captive power plants (CPPs).
Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Power has been in talks with the IMF regarding a proposed relief to the power consumers, who it maintained are in immense pressure and burden due to the massive rise in electricity bills in July.
“IMF has asked the interim government to immediately raise the price of gas provided to the CPPs with effect from July," said a source in the Ministrr.
“IMF preconditions include five demands that must be met to grant permission for providing relief to power consumers. IMF has also asked the government to share a plan to terminate the subsidy and increase gas price for the CPPs. "
The government had reached out to the IMF recently after inflated electricity bills sparked anger, uproar and countrywide protests by locals, who torched theirbills and refused to pay them.
The protesters maintained that they are not going to pay the bills with such high per unit tariffs and taxes, which they said are coupled with excessive billings.
“We are unable to feed out families and are moving towards starvation due to inflation in the country. Now, the government imposes more taxes on us and gives us bills with magnified tariff charges. They want us to die of poverty and stress of inflation”, said one of the residents in Islamabad, who got a bill of 48,000 PKR for a month in a house which has two fans and three bulbs.
With protests and anger increasing with each passing day, the government finds itself on a thin line as it depends on the approval of IMF to announce any relief for the consumers.
“Pakistan has shared various options with the IMF on how to provide relief to power consumers, but its response is still awaited,” said an official in the finance division.
The country's economic condition is on the brink of a meltdown as increased power tariffs, along with fortnightly increase in prices of petroleum products has had direct impact in prices of basic items.
This has triggered unrest among the masses, who say their survival has become almost impossible under the increasingly worsening circumstances.