Energy Minister Hammad Azhar said on Monday the “expensive agreements and the installation of unnecessary power houses” during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government from 2013 to 2018 ruined the energy sector.
The minister said in a video statement the rent of the expensive powerhouses, installed by the past government, increased by Rs100-300 billion annually, and ultimately the consumers had to bear its burden.
He said that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government would keep on reminding the PML-N of the mistakes it committed during its last tenure in the government. He added that it was the PTI government that took corrective measures to streamline matters related to the energy sector.
“Unless the PML-N leadership keeps telling lies and hoodwinking the public,” Azhar said, “their Taleem-e-Balighan (adult education) will continue because it is a matter of the country’s energy security… we will continue reminding them of their past mistakes”.
Speaking about the PTI corrective measures, he said that the government renegotiated agreements with the powerhouses, reduced rates, closed some of the power plants and signed a historic deal for the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar at the lowest rate.
Read Govt shuns plans to renegotiate $15b energy projects
“But the negative impact of PML-N’s wrong policies, expensive agreements and unnecessary powerhouses still exists, and as a result the consumer suffers,” he charged. “Consumers are bearing the brunt of the PML-N’s wrong policies.”
According to the minister, the government had to increase the power tariff, sometimes out of compulsion, because of the ever-increasing powerhouses’ annual rent and expensive power generation agreements signed by the past regime.
Explaining the wrongdoings of the PML-N government, Azhar said the rent of powerhouses was Rs180 billion in 2013, which had now increased to Rs800 billion and would amount to Rs2,500 billion in next few years.
“The government is bound to pay the rent throughout the year, whether the power plants operate or not. Responding to the PML-N’s criticism, he asked why the circular debt increased from Rs0 to Rs1,200 billion during PML-N’s tenure, if there were good energy sector agreements and management.