islamabad -

The government seems unable to find any solution to ease power crisis in the country despite injecting Rs 288 billion into power sector in less than ten months of the ongoing financial year 2012-13.

Finding no other short run solution, the cash-starved government is releasing subsidy expeditiously for power sector; as it is all set to cross the revised budgetary target of Rs 291 billion. “The finance ministry has released Rs 288 billion for the power sector in so far period (July 2012 to April 22 2013) of the ongoing financial year”, said Rana Assad Amin, advisor and official spokesperson to the finance ministry while talking to The Nation.

Sources said that government would likely to upward revise the power subsidy from Rs 291 billion as power crisis is going to worsen further in the summer. Power subsidy would go to Rs 298 billion in next few days, as finance ministry is likely to release Rs ten billion on the direction of Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso. Caretaker Prime Minister on April 10 directed the finance ministry to immediately release Rs 20 billion for thermal power generation to control the unscheduled power outages in the country. However, finance ministry has so far released Rs 10 billion and remaining ten billion rupees would be provided in next few days, sources said.

It might be mentioned here that government has revised the power subsidy to Rs 291 billion from budgetary allocation of Rs 185 billion for the ongoing financial year 2012-2013. However, sources said that government would have to again revise the power subsidy from Rs 291 billion, as Rs 288 billion has been released so far with two months remaining in the current fiscal year.

However, power situation in the country is deteriorating with every passing day despite giving around Rs one billion subsidy (on average) per day. Power shortfall recorded at 3500 megawatt on Monday, as generation was around 8500 MW against a demand of 12,000 MW. The Ministry of Water and Power has assessed that power shortfall may go to 6000 to 7000MW in peak summer season this year. Therefore, power managers of the country are now demanding Rs 57 billion in one go to arrange furnace oil, so as to ensure minimum loadshedding in the summer season, especially at its peak in June and July.

Earlier, the finance ministry refused to increase the volume of power subsidies from upward revised benchmark of Rs 291 billion saying it does not have the “fiscal space”. Against an immediate demand of Rs 57 billion, the Water and Power Ministry and WAPDA have been directed to ensure recovery of Rs 207 billion from private sector, Rs 140 from the provincial departments and Rs 69 billion GST refund blocked with the Federal Board of Revenue to meet its additional requirements.

The federal and provincial caretaker governments have been unable to find any solution to ease the power crisis in the country and the crisis is likely to persist till the next elected government takes over.