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September 26, 2020

Increasing burdens

Editorial

 
September 26, 2020

Nepra has approved a raise of Rs1.62 per unit in power tariff on account of fuel adjustment cost for the second and third quarters of Financial Year 2019-20. This places an additional cost of Rs168 billion or a little more on consumers. The decision has been taken to rationalise prices and ensure sufficient supply for the various power producing units that have been asking for such an increase. Nepra has said that the government cannot intervene in the matter though the final decision does lie with it. Only K-Electric will remain outside the decision. Nepra also holds that since the power of the government to impose surcharges has been removed, the decision to increase the actual cost of fuel in the form of power is valid.

There are serious repercussions to this matter. The burdens of households already stretched to the very limit, will be stretched further, some may break leaving very little for families in terms of buying food items, or sending children to school. We do not know what will happen at that point. There has also been an increase in the cost of cooking oil by Rs17 per litre, as well as of ghee and an extra Rs5 per litre will be added to the price of milk. This is a tremendous burden on most households throughout the country. There is no real explanation from the federal government or any other source on quite how people are to manage. They are barely managing at this point already, with an exorbitant increase also in the price of life-saving drugs. Once again, it is the people who will suffer.

We do not know what other countries do in such a situation. But it is clear that already people are at a point where they are struggling very badly to manage. While there has been no detailed survey, the reality is that more and more families are already struggling to even send their children to school (those that were sending their children to school, that is). This is an unacceptable situation. It is also obviously essential for every family to buy oil, or ghee with which to cook – or medicines to save their lives. These are not items that can be left off the list. The solutions for these households simply do not seem to be there at all. Nepra has also said power tariff rates are being considered for the future so that there can be a single predetermined rate. But till then the burden on people will continue to rise and add to their very great difficulties.