November 03, 2020 (MLN): Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced a comprehensive package to provide electricity to industries at reduced rates.
Announcing the package in Islamabad this afternoon, he said small and medium industries will get additional electricity on 50 percent reduced rates from the first of this month till the 30th of June next year. For example, if an industrial unit would buy electricity at a rate of 16 rupees per unit and now it will get the same on a fifty percent discount on consuming additional electricity. He said it has also been decided to provide additional electricity at 25 percent discounted rates to all the industry, including big and small units, for the next three years. He said the electricity will be provided to the industry on an off-peak hours' basis throughout the year.
The Prime Minister said it was unfortunate that our industrial products could not compete with other countries due to expensive electricity as a result of costly power agreements signed by the previous governments. He said this package will reduce the cost of production, enhance Pakistan's exports, and create wealth. He said due to prudent economic policies of the government, a record sale of cement, motorcycles, and cars have been witnessed, whereas our construction sector is also progressing at a great pace.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan's exports have increased at a great pace in the subcontinent in the wake of COVID-19.
He appealed to the people to strictly observe all Standard Operating Procedures, including wearing face masks, frequently washing hands, and maintaining social distancing, to prevent the spread of the contagion.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Power Division Omar Ayub said 70 percent of our electricity was being produced on imported fuel, while the PTI government has formulated a well-coordinated plan to improve energy mix. He said 30 percent of the country's energy mix will comprise renewable energy by 2030 and we have planned to generate 70 to 80 percent of our electricity through our own resources, including solar, wind, coal, and hydel.
Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said it has been the government's consistent resolve to reduce the cost of production in Pakistan today federal cabinet approved the package to slash the power tariff in the country. He said the package will make Pakistan's industry competitive in the world market. He said Pakistan's growth rate is in the positive domain when it is minus four percent the world over due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Talking about post COVID economic situation in Pakistan, Minister for Planning Asad Umar said the smart lockdown strategy yielded positive results and the entire world acknowledged this achievement of Pakistan. He said it is the top priority of the government to keep rolling the wheel of the industry and to protect the people of Pakistan from Coronavirus.
Finance Advisor Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said the economy of the country is now stable due to bold initiatives taken by the government. He said we also declined expenditures of civil and military institutions while several packages for SMEs were announced to boost economic activities in the country.
The Advisor said over 1000 billion rupees tax has been collected during the last four months. He said a 90 percent tax exemption was given to the construction industry.
He said trade deficit declined to zero from 120 billion rupees while the allocation for Ehsaas program has been increased from 100 to 192 billion rupees. He said merged areas of erstwhile FATA are being given 152 billion rupees. He said repayment of 5,000 billion rupees was also made while the government did not take any loan from June to November this year.