ISLAMABAD: The federal government, after giving the masses Rs9.43/litre relief in petroleum, oil & lubricant (POL) prices, has shocked the nation as the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved average 30 per cent increase in gas tariff from Jan 1 to recover about Rs69 billion from the consumers and issued policy guidelines for the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) in this regard.
The ECC, under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, also approved the compensation to the growers of basmati rice at 5000 per acre subject to the following provisions: total amount of compensation may be shared equally among Federal and provincial governments. The total amount of subsidy will be around Rs10 billion. The compensation will be made to the small growers of 25 acres only. The farmers who have already received compensation against crop damage in recent floods in Punjab will not be eligible to this additional compensation.
Meanwhile, the Committee also considered and approved the proposal moved by the Ministry of Water and Power for allowing extension of subsidy to the agriculture consumers at Rs10.35 per unit till 30.6.2015. According to the earlier decision, Ministers of W&P and Finance had decided in a meeting with the representatives of Kissan Ittehad (in August 2013) to subsidise tariff for the agriculture consumers whereby the Federal Government bore the tariff differential subsidy and provincial governments were directed to pay the GST. In today’s decision it was also decided that the GST will be adjusted against the electricity fee payable to the provinces. It is also important to mention that during peak hours agri- tube wells will not be entitled for power supply.
Ishaq Dar said that the amount paid in subsidy will be around Rs22 billion which was around Rs18.5 billion last year but the Federal Government has taken the decision to support farmers as with the help of this decision Punjab has given historic crop of wheat production 19.470 million ton during 2013-14, the Fuel Price adjustment will also be paid by the federal government, added the Minister.