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Event Title: Senator Saadia Abbasi, presiding over a Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat at Parliament House Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-09-27

Meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat was held here at Parliament House on Wednesday under the Chairpersonship of Senator Saadia Abbasi.

The Committee offered Fateha on the sad demise of Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed and held his services in high esteem.

The Senate Committee was briefed on the hike in electricity prices and it's impact on the general masses. Chairman NEPRA stated that NEPRA is mandated to provide safe and affordable electricity prices to the consumers and,as of now, consumers have been charged Rs. 45.06 per unit which includes the taxes mainly as capacity charges, energy charges, and DISCO's margin. However, the recent macro economics indicators resulted in increase of Rs. 3.17 per unit. He further added that the total electricity capacity of the country is around 4400 MW, and currently an average of 2500 to 2600 MW electricity is being produced in the country out of which a total of 70 pc is being produced by IPP's. Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan inquired as to whether or not the Power Generation license to IPP's is being provided by NEPRA. In reply to that, Chairman NEPRA said that the license to IPP's is provided by Government of Pakistan. Senator Mushtaq Ahmad khan maintained that the energy crisis of the country can not be resolved without reviewing the unholy agreements with the IPP's and the recent times have proved that NEPRA has failed to provide affordable energy to the local consumers as per their mandate rather only served as a catalyst, protecting the interests of IPP's. Senator Saadia Abbasi directed the NEPRA to provide details of Fuel Price adjustment charges and Capacity Payments being payed to the IPP's in the year,2023.

Furthermore, the Senate body deliberated on the proposed increase of gas prices and its country wide utilisation. Officials informed that around 2900 MMcf natural gas is being produced in the country including 400 MMcf from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,750 MMcf from Baluchistan,100 MMcf from Punjab and 1650 MMcf from Sindh. Moreover, an average of 28 pc local plus imported gas is being utilized by Power sector,26 domestic,18 pc industry and 22 pc by Fertilizers Companies. Senator Saadia Abbasi remarked that fertilizer companies utilizes the major portion of cheap natural gas, and yet the local farmers of the country are doomed to buy fertilizers at inflated rate. In reply to that, the official stated that gas to the fertilizer companies have been provided at old prices of Rs. 302, however, the price of urea bag has been doubled as compared to Rs.1700 per bag in 2020. It was further added that gas prices has not increased since 2020 and a letter has been written to Petroleum Division for  increase in gas prices to ease the circular debt of Rs. 2 Trillion and to meet the gas demands of the upcoming winter season. The Chairperson Committee also inquired about the future prospects of Iran gas pipeline project which has been delayed since a decade. Officials apprised that negotiations on the Iran gas pipeline has been speedend up since last year, however, commercial and foreign concerns are the major impediments in the completion of the project. The Committee decided to invite Attorney General of Pakistan in the next meeting for detailed deliberation on the matter.

The meeting was attended by Senator Muhammad Akram, Senator Syed Waqar Mehdi, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Senator Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Senator Naseebullah Bazai, Senator Khalida Ateeb, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Chairman NEPRA Waseem Mukhtar, Chairman OGRA Masroor Khan and other senior officers of Petroleum Division and relevant departments were also in attendance.