Cabinet meeting: Pakistani astronaut to go to space in 2022, Lahore to crackdown on power theft

October 25, 2018

The federal cabinet approved on Thursday ambitious plans to counter power theft in the country and send a Pakistani to space.

The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, and the ministers told him what they’ve done in the past two months and presented him a report.

Federal ministers Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, and Umar Ayub briefed the media about major developments after the meeting.

Pakistan in space

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that first Pakistani man will be sent to space in 2022.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed between a Chinese company and SUPARCO.

Curbing power theft

Power Minister Omar Ayub said that a crackdown against power thieves will be launched in Punjab.

“Overdue in electricity bills amount to Rs900 billion,” he remarked, adding that the ‘big fish’ will be caught first.

He remarked that there is a need to bring an end to kunda culture too. In Lahore, the government will put up APS (Auxiliary Power Supply System) so that people are not able to steal electricity. Moreover, there will be a meter on all transformers.

LESCO has been ordered to detect the places where power is being stolen. “Short billing and power theft cause a loss to Rs250 to Rs280 billion,” he said.

Ayub shared that the PM Khan told the ministers to take care of the poor during the meeting.

Increase in electricity prices

The NEPRA had recommended Rs3.82 per unit increase in electricity prices, however, the government increased the prices by Rs1.27, said Finance Minister Asad Umar.

He explained that the prices have been increased depending on the consumption of people.

  • No increase for people who consume 300 units

  • 10% increase for people who consume 300 to 700 units

  • 15% increase for people who consume more than 700 units

Umar remarked that there has been no increase for people in the agricultural sector.

Related: Brace yourselves: Electricity prices just went up

The NEPRA had recommended Rs3.5 per unit increase for the industrial sector. “We don’t want to increase it by so much,” he remarked.

“Rather than putting the burden on the people, we need to improve the governance,” Umar added.

Other developments

Moreover, official passports will be issued to NAB personnel. “This will allow them to travel easily and get evidence against corrupt individuals,” said Chaudhry.

The government will also evaluate the different testing services in the country, including NTS. This will help ensure their quality, the information minister added.

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