ISLAMABAD - Following the government’s plan to reduce electricity outages in the country, the Finance Ministry on Monday injected Rs 40 billion for additional power generation during the holy month of Ramazan to give a sigh of relief to the masses.

“Yes, the ministry has released Rs 40 billion to the power sector,” Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan told The Nation. He said the government had released Rs 292 billion subsidies for the power sector during the financial year 2013-2014 that ended on June 30.

Sources in the Finance Ministry were of the view that the Ministry of Water and Power would give Rs 15 billion to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and Rs 25 billion to Pakistan State Oil (PSO) out of the released Rs 40 billion. “Timings of loadshedding will considerably decrease by injecting Rs 40 billion into power sector in next month,” said the Finance Ministry sources.

It is worth mentioning here that the government on Sunday devised a plan to control the soaring loadshedding in the country during the holy month of Ramazan. Under the plan, the government would have to release Rs 40 billion for Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) to restrict loadshedding up to five hours in urban areas and seven hours in rural areas so that the people could not face difficulties.

The government plans to keep electricity generation at over 16,000MW per day in the month of Ramazan against the demand of around 18,000MW.

However, the released amount is much lesser than what IPPs and PSO sought from the government to reduce the power outages in the country. The circular debt of the IPPs has already surged to Rs 330 billion. The independent power producers asked the government to release half of the amount, i.e. Rs 115 billion while the sought Rs 100 billion from the government.

The government has revised the subsidy amount to power sector as Rs 292 billion during the previous financial year 2013-2014, which is 32 percent higher than the original budgetary allocation of Rs 220 billion. However, the government has reduced the power subsidy amount to Rs 185 billion for the ongoing fiscal year 2014-2015, starting from today (Tuesday).