Unprecedented hikes in power tariffs will hurt agriculture and industry in Pakistan.

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Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Sunday that the government had increased the power tariff by 27 per cent, which is unacceptable. The decision will hit the masses and all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, industry, services, and exports while pushing inflation to unprecedented levels, he said.

Shahid Rashid Butt said in a statement today that the government has increased the cost of electricity to Rs7.50 per unit and that it is impossible for the public and the business community to bear the burden. The basic electricity tariff has been increased from Rs3 to Rs7.50 per unit. The government has applied to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to increase the basic price of electricity. It has proposed to implement the increase in electricity prices from July.

These rates exclude surcharges, taxes, duties, and levies, which means the real applicable average national tariff will be higher. The tariff will be around Rs50.40 per unit for those consuming over 700 monthly units.

For many commercial consumers, the base power tariff has been raised by Rs7.50 per unit to Rs37.75, and the new tariff for electric vehicle charging stations will be Rs39.43 per unit.

For industrial consumers, whose minimum electricity rate will be Rs31.93 and the maximum will be Rs37.89 per unit, the new tariff for agricultural tube wells will be Rs24.10 per unit after an Rs7.50 hike.

It should be noted that the increase in electricity prices will burden consumers by almost 3495 billion rupees, reduce electricity use, and increase theft.

Shahid Rashid Butt said there is a strong public reaction to the increase in electricity prices. The people are demanding better governance, an end to theft, and an end to free electricity for the elite. The sudden increase in electricity prices affects the government’s reputation, and voters may make an unexpected decision in the upcoming elections.

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