Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) on Thursday said that masses will never accept the plan of the government which wants consumers to pay for the entire circular debt which has swelled to Rs500 billion.
The decision to make National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) toothless by amending the relevant laws and punish honest consumers for mismanagement in the power sector should be reversed as it is against the interests of masses, it said.
Consumers are not responsible for the mess in the power sector, therefore, they should not be made to pay for it otherwise it will result in protests and legal battle, said Patron ICST Shahid Rasheed Butt.
He said that circular debt has touched the level of 2013 when government settled it in one go but now it wants to burden masses for it as paying the debt from Treasury will increase trade deficit which has already touched the mark of 30 billion dollars, a record in country’s history.
He said that government is empowered to add any surcharge of the fee to the electricity bills but it must be approved by the regulator but now laws are being amended to leave NEPRA dysfunctional so that the interests of power producers prevail upon the interests of masses.
If NEPRA is not needed why the government is spending tens of millions of rupees on it, it should be disbanded so that there is not one standing between the government and the poor consumers, he observed.
He said that the full cost of the power sector should not be recovered from those who are faithfully paying their bills as it is the height of injustice and against the basic rights of consumers.