Pakistan, currently facing an onslaught of inflation and the subsequent financial crisis, is now on the way to an additional economic crunch as the country’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) hiked the price of electricity by 1.68 Pakistani Rupees per unit. Notably, the development comes even as other commodities like petrol, diesel, and sugar in Pakistan continued to become more expensive for the citizens. It forced the Imran Khan-led government on Wednesday to announce the “country’s biggest-ever” subsidy package worth ₹120 billion, a move deemed desperate by opposition leaders.
How expensive is electricity in Pakistan?
According to Geo News, Nepra has increased the price per unit of electricity by ₹1.68 for domestic consumers under the basic tariff, while for commercial and other categories, the price per unit of electricity will be ₹1.39.
The new rates have come into effect from November 1. However, some relief can be found in the fact that those consumers who use only up to 200 units of electricity a month will not be affected by the new rates. According to the report, the government expects a profit of ₹135 billion per annum after the recent hike in power prices.
This comes after the latest surge in petroleum prices. According to a finance ministry notification, with the ₹8.03 increase, the new price of petrol has been fixed at ₹145.82 per litre, which has come into effect from November 5.
Imran Khan criticised over subsidy announcement
On Wednesday, Imran Khan announced “country’s biggest-ever” subsidy package worth ₹120 billion, providing the 30 per cent discount on ghee, flour, and pulses to support 130 million people by ebbing away from the impact of inflation. Shortly after Khan’s announcement opposition leaders had criticised the move and had called it an “acceptance of the government’s failure” and “nothing but a joke”, said the Pakistani publication.
Taking to Twitter, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had said that the PM’s package is “too little for 200 million people.” Following suit, former senator and PPP leader Sherry Rehman had termed PM Imran Khan’s address to the nation a “bizarre speech”, and called the premier the “Blame Minister of Pakistan”.