Circular debt issue to be ‘signally resolved’ in 9 months: Hina | Pakistan Today

Circular debt issue to be ‘signally resolved’ in 9 months: Hina

ISLAMABAD: Terming the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) the ‘root-cause’ of the country’s circular debt issues, Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said on Tuesday that the government is bringing reforms in the organisation that will most likely signally resolve the problem within six to nine months.
She made these comments in response to a Call Attention notice on the rapid increase in poverty in the country moved by the Pakistan Muslim League-N lawmakers. Providing answers to objections raised by some lawmakers on the Wheat Support Price, the minister said that the price had been fixed after taking all provincial governments in confidence.
“It was increased to curb smuggling and provide relief to local farmers,” she said, adding that the decision had also increased wheat production in the country. Regarding unemployment, Khar said that it was due to the low growth rate. “Our ‘Trade Not Aid’ slogan is meant to create job opportunities in the country,” she said.
The government was providing relief to the poor through the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). “The provinces also launched identical programmes but they failed to deliver due to their faulty designs and the projects were ultimately scrapped by the provincial governments. But the BISP is functioning transparently,” she said.
In the last fiscal year, Khar continued, Rs 527 billion were collected from direct taxes. “The share of the salaried class in direct taxes just about reaches Rs 30 billion,” she said, adding that the provinces should also improve their tax collection system. Khar said that the circular debt issue was there due to the cost differential.
She said that the government had paid Rs 216 billion in circular debt to the Independent Power Producers during 2009 and also provided an additional Rs 90 billion during the current year to ensure power generation through the private sector.
Earlier speaking on a Call Attention notice, PML-N lawmakers Tahira Aurangzeb, Nuzhat Sadiq and Nighat Perveen Mir said that the deteriorating law and order situation in the country was due to poverty, inflation and unemployment.
MNA Abid Sher Ali urged the government to withdraw the decision of increasing the power tariff and prices of petroleum products. Expressing dismay over the recent increase in prices of petroleum products, MNA Yousaf Talpur, on a point of order, said that the government had increased petroleum products’ prices while petroleum prices in the international market had remained unchanged.

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