ISLAMABAD - On the directions of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the finance ministry on Thursday injected Rs20 billion into power sector in a bid to minimise soaring power loadshedding in the country that has made lives of people miserable.

Chairing a meeting on power loadshedding on Wednesday, the PM had directed the ministry to immediately release Rs20 billion for the purchase of fuel to ease the loadshedding. The release of funds was confirmed to The Nation by Finance Ministry spokesperson Rana Asad Amin.

The government has released Rs212 billion to the power sector in terms of subsidy during outgoing financial year (July 2013 to May 8 2014). The government would have to revise up the power subsidy from budgetary target of Rs220 billion to Rs270 billion by the end of June 2014.

The country is facing power shortfall of around 3,500 megawatts, as power generation is around 10,500MW against the demand of 14,000 MW. Therefore, there is up to 15 hours of loadshedding in urban areas and up to 20 hours outages in rural areas.

The prime minister had directed the officials concerned to bring down loadshedding to 6 hours in urban and 7 hours in rural areas in the next few days. However, sources in finance ministry were of the view that government would have to struggle hard to control the power outages mainly because of soaring circular debt, which surged to Rs300 billion. They added that Independent Power producers (IPPs) are considering to cut the power generation due to the non-availability of funds.