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PM Nawaz tells govt to 'protect' poor in power tariff hike

04 October, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday directed Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to ensure that the low-income groups are protected at all costs while rationalising the electricity tariff.

Talking to Dar, who called on him at the PM House, the prime minister said that almost 70% of power was being produced through the expensive furnace oil and only 30% was produced from hydro sources and inexpensive fuel. The finance minister said 67% of the total domestic users consume up to 200 units of electricity per month and are fully protected from the recent tariff hike. He said the national exchequer has incurred heavy losses by not rationalising the tariff in the past and added that at present the government was paying Rs 167 billion in subsidy to protect the domestic users.

Prime Minister Nawaz Thursday inaugurated the $150 million Latif Gas Field project, injecting 3 percent more gas into the national gas grid to help meet country's growing domestic and industrial requirements. The prime minister inaugurated the field situated in Khairpur District in Sindh by pressing a button from the PM House. Nawaz said the gas field would produce around 100mmcfd of gas per day and would help the country meet its energy needs.

"I hope that this additional volume of gas will help in mitigating the shortage of gas in the country to some extent," he said. He noted that the project has been completed in record time of 15 months only due to tireless effort of the entire project team.

Nawaz said Pakistan was currently facing acute energy crises and supply of indigenous gas was a major component of total energy mix and main stay of economy. He said indigenous gas saves Pakistan billions in precious foreign exchange since it constitutes about 50% of the energy mix.

Prime Minister Nawaz said the government was fully cognisant of the fact that without allowing an attractive rate of return it would not be possible to achieve any major breakthrough in harnessing indigenous resources. "I hope that the new petroleum exploration and production policy will significantly alter petroleum exploration regime in Pakistan," said the prime minister. The prime minister also said that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has also formulated very attractive policies for tight gas and Low BTU Gas.

Separately, Prime Minister Nawaz said that lacunas in the anti-terrorism laws must be removed to ensure that those involved in heinous terrorist activities are fairly punished.

Chairing a meeting on anti-terrorism legislation at the PM House, Nawaz said, "There should be no gap and loophole in the anti terrorism laws which allow the terrorists to get away with dreadful crimes. We need strong, transparent but stringent laws to cope with the menace of terrorism. The required amendments must be finalised as soon as possible."

He underlined the need of amending the existing laws so that people involved in terrorist activities are bought to book and penalised under the laws of the land.

The meeting was also attended by Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Parvaiz Rasheed, Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid and senior officials of the PM office.

End.

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