Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Tuesday that the people are tired of inflated power bills.
The electricity tariff should be revised downward immediately; otherwise, the ongoing protests across the country will intensify, which will destroy law and order and cause great damage to the unstable economy, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that electricity has become so expensive that it is not possible to run industry, trade, or any kind of business activity.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that taxes on electricity bills should be moderated and rationalized. The issue of capacity payment should be resolved, and interest-free loans should be provided to people for installing solar systems.
He said that increasing the cost of electricity to meet the deficit of trillions of rupees in the power sector is like filling water in a broken bucket.
Instead of increasing the price of electricity, electricity theft, line losses, and non-payment of bills should be controlled, and no one should be given free electricity.
The business leader said that laws should be made stringent to discourage electricity theft so that the burden of stolen electricity is not passed on to the people.
He demanded that the electricity generation and distribution system and the entire infrastructure should be improved.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that WAPDA wants the recovery of electricity bills, but the police do not help it because its priority is not recovery but to maintain law and order, and if the police do not cooperate, there will be no response.
Similarly, cases are not registered against electricity thieves, and if they are, they are not properly investigated and arrested. Even if someone is arrested, he is released with a minor punishment.
Until the punishment and penalty for electricity theft are drastically increased and fully implemented, the loss of electricity theft will continue to be borne by the bill-paying public.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that instead of continuously increasing the cost of electricity, free electricity distribution should be stopped to reduce the circular debt, WAPDA and the police should be brought on the same page to increase the recovery, or a separate force should be raised for the recovery of outstanding bills.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that at present, the demand to end the provision of free electricity among government employees, senior officers, politicians, etc. has gained momentum, but the real problem is not free electricity but electricity theft, line losses, and non-compliance, which amount to almost Rs 800 billion.
He further said that if the energy sector is not reformed, it will destroy the country’s economy.