In response to widespread protests across the country regarding high electricity bills, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has granted approval to a relief proposal.
According to Geo News, the final approval for collecting bills in installments will be sought from the federal cabinet. This initiative is expected to provide temporary relief to approximately 4 million electricity consumers. The proposal allows authorities to collect electricity bills in installments for consumers using up to 200 units of electricity.
However, the IMF has rejected the interim government’s plan to offer relief to consumers using up to 400 units of electricity per month. If approved, this proposal could have benefited 32 million consumers. The IMF has emphasized the importance of cracking down on electricity and gas theft and improving bill recovery.
Additionally, sources report that the IMF has requested an increase of 45 to 50% in gas tariffs starting from July 1. However, this tariff hike is contingent on approval from the federal cabinet.
In light of ongoing protests by citizens and traders against the steep increases in power bills and additional taxes, the caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s administration in Islamabad has been actively seeking the IMF’s support to provide immediate relief to electricity consumers in the financially strained country, which is already grappling with high inflation.
It is crucial to note that Pakistan is currently under an IMF program, and any relief or subsidy measures require approval from the IMF. Both parties have engaged in intense negotiations as public demonstrations against inflated power bills continue.