ISLAMABAD - Taking stock of, inter alia, web of Rs 246 billion circular debt, the World Bank has asked Pakistan to curtail Wapdas line losses, improve efficiency, gear up privatisation of the distribution companies and increase power tariff effective from July 1, 2009. The Finance Ministry and the experts of the World Bank held two sessions on Monday and reviewed the cumbersome issues of the Water and Power Development Authority, power tariff adjustments to international crude oil fluctuations and the web of over Rs 246 billion circular debt. IMF did consider Pakistans vantage point that it was not feasible to increase power tariff when public was already faced with irony of load shedding, but they said power tariff was not their issue rather it was that of the World Bank, a senior Finance Ministry official privy to the ongoing talks told TheNation on condition of anonymity. It was the first day of the three-day talks as second leg of Pakistans negotiations with the Bretton Woods institutions as the government recently concluded parleys with the International Monetary Fund in Turkey. Although the government describes its first leg of economy review with the IMF as successful, the $750 million third tranche out of 23-month $7.6 billion standby loan still hangs in balance. A clean chit from both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank after ongoing talks is a must for approval of the IMF Board that meets early next month, to the release of third tranche. Pakistan has sought waver on the condition of increasing the power tariff to clean the slate of the white elephant Water and Power Development Authority. The World Bank having extraordinary exposure to the power sector of Pakistan has remained concerned about the electricity prices even more than the government itself. Similarly, the Asian Development Bank intends to play lead manager role in the upcoming mega dams construction projects in Pakistan. Therefore, the ADB, already having substantial portfolio in the power sector, especially in alternative energy projects, also stays concerned about the electricity prices in Pakistan. The Finance Ministry official was of the view that the government would convince the World Bank and the ADB to increase prices but in phases. Therefore, he hinted that the public would have to face at least five to seven per cent increase in the first phase in the worst scenario. By worst scenario he meant the World Banks insistence to increase at once and that too up to 31 per cent. According to the official, the World Bank officials were also weird of piling up of arrears long due against outstanding electricity bills. These arrears of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) alone amount to Rs 100 billion while the outstanding amount against rest of the provincial and federal government outfits totalled even more.