Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said the dysfunctional energy sector has contributed to the devastation of the country’s economy.
4000 megawatts of electricity is wasted annually in line losses and non-payment of bills therefore the circular debt is increasing day by day the IMF has asked Pakistan increased the price of electricity by Rs12 per unit, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the power sector has become a major threat to the country’s economy, which no previous government has been able to solve on a sustainable basis despite tall claims.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the power sector is harming the country’s economy by billions of dollars, while according to the World Bank, the end of load shedding can benefit the people by four and a half billion dollars and businesses by about eight and a half billion dollars annually.
The main goal of the government for economic recovery should be the acquisition of cheap, safe, and sustainable energy, for which 100% of bills should be recovered, load shedding should be eliminated and transmission and distribution losses must be brought under global standards.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that dependence on imported oil and gas for power generation is a major obstacle in the development of this sector. Seventy-five percent of coal is also imported for the process of generating electricity.
Currently, 2600 megawatts of cheap electricity is being generated from Thar coal. In Pakistan, power generation through nuclear and renewable sources is dismal while production in both these sectors needs to be increased to save valuable foreign exchange and improve the balance of payments, he said.
The business leader said that the cost of installing wind and solar power plants is much lower than fuel-fired power plants, but there is less attention to this aspect, while the promotion of private solar power can completely solve transmission losses and electricity theft and save ten billion dollars in foreign exchange is also possible, but it requires determination.
The potential of wind power in Pakistan is at least 50,000 megawatts, but only 1335 megawatts of electricity are being generated from it, while only 600 megawatts of electricity are being generated through solar energy, which is only 1.4% of the potential. There is also a dire need to upgrade the power transmission and distribution system.