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Monday July 22, 2024

No additional duty on solar panels, says PM as masses bear brunt of power tariff increase

"Federal govt to ensure accessibility of low-cost energy to every citizen," says Premier Shehbaz

By APP
June 25, 2024
Workers washing 300 KWP solar PV system after its installation at Nishtar Medical University and Hospital in Multan, on December 4, 2022. — APP
Workers washing 300 KWP solar PV system after its installation at Nishtar Medical University and Hospital in Multan, on December 4, 2022. — APP

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has clarified that there is no plan in place for imposing additional duties on solar panels which hinders the accessibility of low-cost energy to citizens.

The clarification came after the federal government signalled to replace solar net metering with "gross metering" while some reports suggested that new taxes would be introduced on solar products which would extensively reduce the financial benefits of in-house power generation.

PM Shehbaz said the "government is planning to put the national economy on a positive trajectory" and expressed satisfaction over the country heading towards economic stability.

He made these remarks while chairing the federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday in which the members took a set of key decisions.

The premier reiterated the resolve to boost the country’s exports by promoting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and withdrawing privileges from the elite class and those exploiting the national resources.

The economic protection of the common man and providing them equal opportunities were among the government’s priorities, he added.

Discussing the annual budget 2024-25, the premier instructed the members to ensure their presence in the ongoing budget debate in the parliament.

PIA privatisation

During the briefing, the cabinet members were informed that the privatisation of the PIA was moving ahead swiftly as companies showing interest in the pre-bidding process were visiting different airlines' sites. The bidding of the national flag carrier will be held in the first week of August, it was told.

He instructed to accelerate the PIA privatisation while ensuring transparency in the process.

No hike in sugar price

During the briefing on the Economic Coordination Committee’s decision, the cabinet meeting was told that the country had sufficient stock of sugar available and the Sugar Advisory Board and relevant departments had approved exporting the leftover stock of sugar after taking into account the expected consumption before the next crushing season and assessing the surplus stock.

PM Shehbaz said the government would not tolerate any increase in the sugar price and instructed the formation of a committee to monitor the sugar price and stop its export in case of any possibility of a price hike.

In other decisions, the federal cabinet approved the transit of a truck from Karachi to Kabul carrying the spare parts of the trucks, just for once on humanitarian grounds on the commerce ministry’s recommendation and request from the World Food Programme (WFP) of Afghanistan.

The body gave the go-ahead to the signing of an MoU between the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

It also extended till March 2025 the timeframe of an implementation committee on the immovable property of the late Ameer of Bahawalpur in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling and recommendation of the States and Frontier Regions Division.

The federal cabinet also approved the appointment of the Executive Director of the Frequency Allocation Board.

The meeting approved the annual report of the National Economic Council (NEC) for fiscal year 2022-23 prepared by the planning ministry for tabling before the parliament.

The federal cabinet endorsed the Economic Coordination Committee’s (ECC) decisions of June 13, 2024, the Cabinet Committee on Legislative Cases of June 11, 2024, and the Cabinet Committee on State-Owned Enterprises’ decision of June 20, 2024.