ISLAMABAD - The change of premier, minister and secretary have all boosted the Ministry of Water and Power’s (MWP) guts to demand the Finance Ministry pay tariff differential subsidy (TDS) on time, to maintain maximum power generation during the peak-hour demand during sweetening summers.
An official source said the Ministry of Finance (MoF) had been told in clear terms recently by MWP that TDS should be provided either in one go for the current fiscal year or on a monthly basis to avoid violent street protests. He said the Finance Ministry was reluctant to accept TDS of Rs 184 billion which was the actual figure for the last fiscal year. At present there is a TDS of Rs 3.06 per kWh. The current notified tariff is Rs 8.88 per unit as compared to the NEPRA determined tariff of 11.94 per unit.
Explaining the cause of the new found zeal, he said that the stubbornness of MoF in accepting the data of the MWP was the main reason for the dwindling power generation. “They used to ask every time to verify our data and used to add different conditions in the release of funds,” the source claimed, adding that the delay in the release of funds for TDS and furnace oil resulted in massive power outages.
“With a prime minister, who understands delaying tactics of MoF rather well, there is now no plausibly excuse and they have to meet all our demands,” he asserted adding that fuel oil supply had jumped from an average of 11,000 tonnes to 27,500 tonnes daily during the last ten days resulting in significant improvement in power supply. Prime minister supported the move of MWP to provide more gas and fuel to increase power generation which was previously effectively blocked by the MoF by claiming that they lacked funds and instead stressed efficiency in the power sector. Efficiency in the sector could only come if its difficulties were removed to run the system on optimal level.
Elaborating on the benefits of former Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf’s becoming premier he said that the PM ordered resolution of a major issue of recovery of provincial government department’s outstanding dues of more than Rs 250 billion through at source deduction. Previously, MoF was not ready to consult the provinces on the pretext that it was not possible after the 18th amendment. Federal Adjustor will be holding a meeting on July 23 to resolve the issue.
The induction of new minister and secretary have helped improve the working of the ministry as the previous minister used to visit the ministry once in a blue moon and had made his official residence as camp office only for meetings. The new minister was keenly monitoring the targets given to DISCOs for recovery and reducing losses and power theft. The timely decisions have aroused a fear of accountability in the system which is also resulting in improvement in the system.