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PM Shehbaz Clarifies: No New Duties on Solar Panels; Government Focuses on Economic Stability

ISLAMABAD: Amid rising speculation over changes in net metering and new taxes on solar products, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has assured that the federal government will not impose additional duties on solar panels, aiming to maintain the accessibility of low-cost energy for all citizens.

This clarification followed signals from the federal government about replacing solar net metering with “gross metering” and reports suggesting the introduction of new taxes on solar products, which would reduce the financial benefits of in-house power generation. PM Shehbaz emphasized that the government’s focus is on setting the national economy on a positive trajectory and expressed satisfaction with the country’s progress toward economic stability.

During a federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday, the Prime Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to boosting exports by promoting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and removing privileges from the elite class. He underscored the importance of economic protection for the common man and providing equal opportunities as key government priorities.

In the context of the 2024-25 budget, PM Shehbaz instructed cabinet members to actively participate in the ongoing budget debate in parliament.

PIA Privatization Moving Forward

The cabinet was briefed on the swift progress of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) privatization, with interested companies visiting various airline sites ahead of the bidding scheduled for the first week of August. PM Shehbaz directed the acceleration of the PIA privatization process while ensuring full transparency.

No Increase in Sugar Prices

The Economic Coordination Committee reported sufficient sugar stock, and the Sugar Advisory Board approved the export of surplus sugar after considering expected consumption. PM Shehbaz insisted on strict measures to prevent any sugar price hikes and formed a committee to monitor prices, halting exports if necessary.

Other Key Decisions

The federal cabinet approved a one-time transit of a truck from Karachi to Kabul carrying spare parts on humanitarian grounds, based on a request from the World Food Programme (WFP) of Afghanistan. Additionally, the cabinet endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Saudi Arabia, extended the timeframe for an implementation committee on the late Ameer of Bahawalpur’s property until March 2025, and approved the appointment of the Executive Director of the Frequency Allocation Board.

The cabinet also approved the annual report of the National Economic Council (NEC) for the fiscal year 2022-23, prepared by the planning ministry for parliamentary submission, and endorsed decisions made by the Economic Coordination Committee, the Cabinet Committee on Legislative Cases, and the Cabinet Committee on State-Owned Enterprises on various dates in June 2024.

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