(April 22, 2022)
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 prices of imported oil and gas have become a threat to the country’s economy.
The increasing price of imported fuel has led to a huge increase in the import bill and as a result, the balance of payments is deteriorating drastically, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the government should expedite the exploration of oil and gas in the country by giving incentives to investors while focusing on the key sectors of nuclear energy and green energy.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that at present an average of 10 billion units of electricity are being generated monthly, most of which is being generated from imported fuel.
The shortage of gas in the country and the non-import of LNG by the previous government has halved the supply of gas to the industrial sector and has also reduced the production of captive power plants.
Dependence on imported fuel is on the rise while dams are running low on water which has affected the production of electricity from this cheap source.
The production of electricity from furnace oil and diesel has increased a lot, which is causing huge financial losses to the government, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that at present the demand for electricity in the country is increasing which will also increase the losses and circular debt.
He said that cost of producing electricity through furnace oil and diesel is around Rs20 per unit, power production cost through coal is almost Rs13 to Rs14 while per unit production cost of electricity through nuclear power is Rs1 which is the cheapest option.
Its share in the country’s energy mix, which is currently only 13 percent, needs to be increased immediately.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that clean and green energy is being given priority over all other sources of electricity generation in the world but the red tape in Pakistan has become a major obstacle in this regard.
The previous government made many tall claims to increase the use of solar energy but at the same time imposed heavy taxes on it which harmed the development of the sector and drastically reduced the trend of installing solar panels. These decisions also hurt consumers in remote areas who are deprived of grid electricity.