Lack of transparency in power sector damaging economy Bureaucracy preferring fudging data over practical work Power sector assets should be sold to retire debt.

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(March 06, 2020)

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and Former Provincial Minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said lack of transparency in the ailing power sector is a big threat to the struggling economy.

There is a disagreement about the volume of circular debt between the power bureaucracy and the regulator which must be hammered out as both cannot be totally right or wrong, he said.

Talking to the business community, the Veteran Business Leader said that the circular debt has reached the mark of two trillion rupees but no serious action has been taken to control it.

The Former Minister noted that the power sector bureaucracy prefers fudging data and misreporting over anything concrete to improve the situation which amounts to playing with the future of the country.

Playing with the words and showing improvement of papers will never improve the situation as it will add to the debt which has already become a grave threat to the economy.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that power sector issues cannot be resolved by blaming previous government; billing and recovery should be improved, line losses and theft should be contained and the system should be improved.

He said that the grave situation warrants a detailed analysis and the policy of burdening masses for the mismanagement of power sector should be stopped as it has added to the cost of production and made life difficult for the masses.

The continued increase in the power tariff has reduced share of Pakistan in the export market and it is making production costly which is encouraging smuggling from the neighbouring countries, he observed.

The policy of continued hike in power tariff has a serious destabilising impact on the economy which should be thoroughly analysed, he demanded.

The Business Leader said that circular debt can be reduced by selling power sector assets, and the power distribution companies adding billions to the losses.

The loss-making state-run entities should be sold without delay and the income should be utilised to retire debt and improve power sector, he demanded.

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