Citizens should once again prepare for more unpleasant news. Following the IMF’s rejection of the new budget recommendations, ECC has been requested to raise electricity tariffs by Rs7.91 per unit in order to recoup Rs892 billion from consumers. Furthermore, without subsidies, the total rise in costs will be Rs12.91 per unit, a stunning 108 percent increase. In order to repay international debt, this alone would extract Rs1.45 trillion from customers every year. With the IMF in charge and the possibility of default looming, no government or economic expert will be able to repair the consequences of a history marred by corruption, wasteful spending, and poor economic judgments. The budgetary equilibrium that the current government was attempting has been shattered by the IMF’s sneering disdain. Citizens had previously been battered by waves of inflation and excessive taxes, which had stifled growth in many sectors, but the aggregate surge in fuel and power prices appears to be the final straw. For many industries and small firms, it will be the end of the road. Pakistan is not only dealing with an electrical shortage that has resulted in excruciatingly long hours of load-shedding, but it is also dealing with a political crisis. The government has taken a step in the right direction by removing the 17 percent GST on solar panels from the 2018 budget, but more work needs to be done. Projects like the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, which can generate up to 100MW of electricity, need to be revitalized. Despite the fact that the project was not as successful as it may have been owing to Bahawalpur’s arid geography and high dust levels, there is still untapped potential that can be transferred or replicated in another suitable area.
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