The Sindh government on Monday resent its coronavirus relief ordinance to Governor Imran Ismail after withdrawing a clause providing concession in utility bills from it.
Governor Ismail had earlier rejected it raising objections on the provincial government’s authority in providing relief to the masses in this regard.
On April 27, the draft ordinance was approved by the cabinet with the aim to facilitate people during the ongoing lockdown in the province by providing relaxation in the electricity and gas bills.
However, Governor Ismail rejected the draft and raised the objection that the provincial government could not provide any concession to people in the utility bills, saying power was directed to the province from the national grid and that the Sindh government did not have the authority to make such decisions.
According to the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002, matters pertaining to gas were also under Centre’s jurisdiction, he said. Only the federal government has the authority to provide any kind of relief in electricity and gas bills, he added.
Under the relief ordinance, rent payments of shops, houses and offices have been deferred while people have been given exemptions in payment of water bill.
Moreover, the provincial government has also delayed the payment of various taxes levied upon the business community in the province through coronavirus relief ordinance.
Sindh should highlight Centre’s efforts
The federal government, the governor added, was working on measures to provide relief to the public and it was also for the people of Sindh.
The Sindh government should focus on highlighting the Centre’s efforts, Ismail said, adding that Rs27 billion had been distributed to deserving people under the ruling PTI’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme.
Relief for power bills was already given to almost 45,000 industries and 700,000 commercial users and a similar one was approved for small traders, he noted. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has also eased conditions on loan repayment, he said.
Governor Ismail had earlier rejected it raising objections on the provincial government’s authority in providing relief to the masses in this regard