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Power consumers to pay Rs9b more as surcharge extended for 18 months

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Wednesday extended the electricity surcharge of 10 paisa per unit for one and a half year aimed at forcing consumers to cough up Rs9 billion more as cost of the highly mismanaged Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectric power project jumped to Rs500 billion.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet approved a proposal of the Ministry of Water and Power to extend the period of Neelum-Jhelum surcharge up to June 2018, according to the Ministry of Finance. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar chaired the ECC meeting.

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In 2007, the General Pervez Musharraf led government had imposed the surcharge to raise funds for construction of the 969 megawatt Neelum Jhelum project.

The project’s cost was revised to Rs274.8 billion, which the current government also revised upwards twice to Rs414 billion. Another revision is expected, which will take the cost to Rs500 billion or roughly $5 billion.

The ECC also gave ex-post facto approval to the Rs180-billion package of incentives for the exporters. The premier has already announced the package.

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The ECC approved Rs38 billion worth of sovereign guarantees to enable Wapda to pay net hydel profit to the Punjab government.

Late last year, the federal government had agreed to pay Rs82 billion to Punjab in arrears of the net hydel profit of the Ghazi Barotha hydroelectric power project after the provincial government backed off from its earlier undertaking that it would not demand hydel profit for the project.

courtesy : Express Tribune



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