DISCOs to be handed over to provinces

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has formed a committee regarding handing over electricity distribution companies to provinces. He directed the committee to finalise the action plan soon.

The prime minister, Wednesday, chaired a high-level meeting to hand over the electricity distribution companies under the jurisdiction of provinces.

The meeting was given a detailed briefing about the losses due to electricity theft, non-recovery of billed amount and line losses of electricity distribution companies.

The meeting was also presented a comparison of the existing administrative structure for the collection of bills in the federation and the provinces and was told that handing over the system of electricity distribution companies to the provinces is a constitutional measure. This measure will significantly reduce the collection of bills and prevention of theft. The meeting was further informed that the Sindh government had first contacted the federal government for the transfer of the system of electricity distribution companies.

The prime minister stated that the government is taking steps on a priority basis to prevent electricity theft and has also formulated a strategy along with the provinces to reduce the losses of the electricity distribution companies.

The prime minister has set up a committee to transfer the electricity distribution companies to the provinces. The committee will determine the terms of reference and the deadline in collaboration with the provincial governments in this regard. He said that the federal government will provide technical assistance to increase the capacity of the provinces and a better management structure for collections of bills will play a key role in dealing with the power sector circular debt.

The meeting was attended by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, federal ministers, Ishaq Dar, Engineer Khurram Dastgir, and Abid Hussain Bhayo, Minister of State Dr Musaddiq Malik, Advisor to Prime Minister Ahad Cheema, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, chief secretaries of Punjab and Balochistan, and others.—ZAHEER ABBASI