Dysfunctional power sector wrecking country’s economy. Weaknesses, high power tariffs hindering domestic and foreign investment. Control over currency market is devaluing the dollar.

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(September-08-2023)

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Friday that the sluggish power sector is ruining the country’s economy.

Local and foreign investment is difficult without bringing transparency to the power sector and introducing reforms in it so that it can become self-sufficient, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that taxes worth 734 billion rupees will be collected on electricity bills in the current year, but it will not help the power sector unless strict measures are taken to eliminate electricity theft, line losses, and non-payment of bills.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the power sector has become very incompetent and a burden. Due to the high cost of electricity, its use is decreasing while theft is increasing, and there is a need to stop theft of electricity, collect electricity bills, save electricity by closing the markets early, and revise the agreements made with private power plants.

He said that closing the markets in the evening will save a huge amount of electricity, which will also save foreign exchange, which is in short supply in the country.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the total amount of theft and non-payment of bills in the country this year is estimated to reach almost two trillion rupees, which is enough to bankrupt the people and the economy.

He further said that at present there are about one million defaulters in the country, while the number of defaulters who have been disconnected is almost 150,000, except for those in Karachi.

The business leader said that the defaulters owe more than one and a half billion rupees, which must be recovered.

He said that the currency market in Pakistan is unrestrained and unruly; it enjoys unprecedented freedom in Pakistan, which is draining the economy.

The role of the black sheep of this sector in the economic disaster cannot be ignored, he said, adding that an action against the currency dealers who are breaking the law has proved good for the economy.

He said that currently, no organisation is willing to accept the responsibility of plunder by shady exchange companies. The central bank and SECP continue to blame each other for the situation; therefore, the exchange companies should be fully subordinated to the central bank; their supervision should be increased; but their business should not be closed because they play an important role in receiving remittances.

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