PM orders action against power thieves, defaulters

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Monday ordered immediate action against those involved in power theft in the country and asked relevant authorities to submit reports in this regard on the daily basis.
Chairing a meeting, the prime minister also directed to take swift action against electricity defaulters, saying there should not be any leniency towards electricity thieves and the defaulters. During the meeting, the prime minister was briefed in detail about all sections of the energy sector.
The meeting was informed about the total installed capacity, actual generation and overall energy supply during various seasons. The prime minister was also informed about the energy mix in power production. PM Kakar stressed that in future, renewable and hydel sources of energy should be given top priority to produce inexpensive and green energy in the country.
He also directed to take effective measures to reduce the line losses of the power distribution companies. “A comprehensive plan should also be prepared and presented to implement the transformer metering project.” He said projects of small hydel power projects should be planned under the guidance of relevant experts.
Such projects will not only generate low-cost electricity but also help in reducing the harmful effects of climate change, he said adding local coal should be preferred, instead of expensive imported coal in coal power generation projects. The prime minister also directed to immediately start work on the construction of 2400 MW solar power projects while ensuring transparency in the entire process.
The government, he said would take all possible steps to reduce the circular debt of the power sector. The meeting was also informed about the progress on the establishment of the electricity energy market in the country. It was informed in the meeting that with the establishment of energy market in the country, the performance and capacity of the power sector would be effectively increased that would eventually help 27 million domestic consumers. It was also informed that most of the work by the Power Division had already been completed in this regard.
Meanwhile, the Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar assured that his government was exploring realistic options to come up with out-of-box solutions to provide relief to electricity consumers.
The prime minister, in an interaction with foreign media representatives, said the government would make informed decisions to satisfy the masses on the issue of electricity bills without deviating from the country’s commitments with the international financial institutions. Mentioning the issues of circular debt, power theft and taxes, the prime minister said the government would introduce short-term solutions to the issue without undermining the agitating people.
He assured that the caretaker government was mandated to facilitate holding the general elections as early as possible while observing the constitutional obligations. He said the Constitution called for carrying out the delimitation of constituencies following the population census.
Prime Minister Kakar said without redesigning the government structure, the interim setup was mainly focused on rearranging the fiscal and monetary policies to build an edifice for economic revival. Calling the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) a strategy for economic revival, he said it focused on agriculture, mines and minerals, defence production and information technology.
However, he also spelled out the economic reform agenda of his government, saying that the imminent steps included the privatization of two or more power distribution companies. He said the reforms needed in taxation and power sectors, and his government would leave behind a basis for mid-level reforms.
Kakar said the government was pursuing a policy of doing the doable and providing a strategic direction to economic planning. To a question, he said all the registered political parties would be provided a level playing field to contest the general elections without any discrimination. However, he said in certain instances, political behaviour turned into vandalism and the country’s law was already in vogue to deal with such conduct.
Talking about the terror attacks by the TTP, the prime minister drew attention to the leftover military equipment by the United States and allied forces back in Afghanistan, which, he viewed, were becoming a threat to peace thus necessitating a coordinated approach to deal with the challenge. He said the foreign forces left Afghanistan after losing interest but “we are here to defend our home, children, mosques and places of worship.”
He said the Pak-Afghan ties were deeply rooted in cultural and faith-based linkages as well as social integration. Pakistan showed magnanimity to the Afghan refugees and the government was coming up with a policy to address the challenge of illegal immigrants, he added. Responding to a query, the prime minister said the government had an “excellent working environment” with the Pakistan Army and both were working together, also for economic revival.
Prime Minister Kakar said regardless of any political association, the people of Balochistan welcomed every project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which had entered the second phase. He reiterated the government’s resolve to go to any extent to protect the Chinese workers taking part in the CPEC projects.
Referring to the massive reserves worth $6 trillion of copper and gold in Balochistan, the prime minister said the Reko Diq project was about to start soon. He called for all the stakeholders to formulate a model to explore the mineral-rich area to make the world see Pakistan through a different prism.
The prime minister expressed the hope that foreign investment projects worth $25 billion each from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East would realize in a time span of two to five years. About the May 9 riots, he said the attack on the military installations was an attempt to create societal disorder, and that existential threat needed a lawful response and he supported the laws to curb such behaviour.
PM for promoting public private partnership to reduce govt expenditures, improve performance: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said promoting public private partnership in the country could curtail government expenditures and improve performance of the projects.
He stressed the need to further promote public private partnership with respect to the construction of motorways and highways across the country. Chairing a high level meeting of Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA), the prime minster said with infrastructure development, the connectivity of different areas of the country would be improved, thus strengthening the national integration.
He directed the relevant authorities to present a comprehensive plan with respect to the East-West connectivity to provide better access between Western and Eastern areas of the country. He said additional opportunities were required with respect to the promotion of public private partnership. During the meeting, it was informed that projects worth Rs 646 billion were launched in the last two years under public private partnership.
Direct savings of Rs 150 billion were ensured in terms of government subsidies through the approved projects of public private partnership, the meeting was told. The meeting was further informed that Sialkot-Kharian Motorway, Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway, Kharian-Rawalpindi Motorway, Karachi Circular Railways and outsourcing of Islamabad International Airport were among the top Public Private Partnership Authority projects. “Education, information technology and export sectors are also among the priorities,” it was added. It was informed that the PPPA was working to increase awareness about the public private partnership, training programmes, and enhancing capacities. The meeting was attended by Caretaker Federal Minister for Planning Sami Saeed, Advisor to the prime minister Ahad Cheema, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Muhammad Jehanzeb and other relevant government officials.
PM directs devising effective strategy for economic stability: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar directed the Ministry of Finance to devise an effective strategy to bring economic stability in the country.
The prime minister said this in a meeting with Interim Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar who called on him here. The finance minister also briefed the prime minister on the current economic situation in the country.
Admiral (retd) Asif Sandila calls on Kakar: Admiral (Retd.) Muhammad Asif Sandila called on Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar and discussed matters relating to mutual interests.
Asif Sandila congratulated the prime minister on assuming the charge of his office and expressed best wishes for him. PM Kakar appreciated the services of ‘Moawin Foundation’, which was working for the welfare of marginalized segments of rural areas under the leadership of Asif Sandila.