ISLAMABAD, (SANA): Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that power scarcity is a major problem being faced by country and concerted efforts are needed to resolve the issue. He said that the government by following the multidimensional strategy wants to overcome energy crisis in three to four years, adding that the provinces has vital role for the implementation of the policy.
The Prime Minister said the while addressing the 23rd meeting of Council of Common Interest (CCI) in Islamabad. He said that the power issue needs a policy which encompasses all dimensions and it also needs a strong will by the Federal Government as well as the federating units to make it successful. “Provinces role is crucial in making the policy a success”, he added.
He said that the energy crisis was intensified due to the mismanagement, corruption, pilferage of electricity and laziness, adding that the PML-N will not leave any stone unturned for keeping good relations with provincial governments. He said that no interference would be done in the constitutional powers of the provinces, adding that the PML-N respects the mandate of all parties for the strengthening of democratic system in country.
He said that the government would take along all parties for the solution of the problems of the masses, adding that all would have to work unitedly for addressing the problems facing by the masses.
The Prime Minister said that major problems being faced by the Power Sector are demand-supply gap, lack of affordability, inefficiency, and pilferage and power theft. He told that major changes will be brought in the system to overcome these issues. He told that Pakistan is producing 45% of electricity with furnace oil and which is too expensive / costly for power generation and has led to higher tariffs. The distribution losses which accounts for 25-28% and theft of electricity amounting to Rs. 140 billion per annum are major cause of the shortfall”, he added.
The Prime Minister told that we plan to finish the load shedding within next 3-4 years through a multi pronged strategy. The strategy includes production of low cost energy, tariff restructuring, efficient technology transparency and merit based system. Low cost energy will be produced by using coal and hydel power for power generation. The extraction of coal and development of the infrastructure for power production will be carried out simultaneously to save time. Till such time that the local coal is available, it will be imported for power consumption. Run of the river projects are being initiated to overcome the short term demands while large dams including Bunji dam and Bhasha dam will be constructed over a period of time to overcome the irrigation needs as well as the power shortage. The Prime Minister told that the power strategy foresees bringing down the power tariff to single digit in three years. The tariff restructuring is main feature of the new energy policy through which the subsidies will be gradually rationalized. The 200 units’ consumers will be provided subsidies.
Prime Minister told that the mismanagement and inefficiency of the WAPDA and other concerned departments is responsible for this situation. It is their responsibility that we are facing this situation today. They have miserably failed to maintain system and today our distribution lines cannot bear the burden. 1400 megawatts of electricity can be brought into the system, within one year, only through proper maintenance of the system, the PM added.
The Prime Minister told that Government has to take lead in power projects implementation strategy. He announced construction of Gaddani Energy Corridor which will provide services to investors for energy production. It will be a hub of electricity generation, the Prime Minister added.
All Provincial Chief Ministers appreciated the energy policy presented by the government but requested the council that they need to have a detailed analysis of the policy in order to further improve the policy within there sphere. The Prime Minister directed to form a committee comprising of Chief Secretaries of the four provinces and one nominee of each and submit their report within one week.
The Prime Minister said that the implementation of the policy would not be an individual effort but a collective endeavor to overcome the power shortage and in this regard the input of the provincial governments will be very important. He highlighted the role of the provinces in bringing down the power theft and power pilferage, asked their cooperation in bringing down this phenomenon and promised all assistance to the provinces.
According to a private TV channel Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah expressed serious reservations over the new energy policy and said that Sindh produces over 70 percent of the total country’s gas and, therefore, it should have ‘first right to use’ the gas.
The meeting was attended by Mian Shahbaz Sharif CM Punjab. Mr. Qaim Ali Shah, CM Sindh, Mr. Pervaiz Khattak CM KP, Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch, CM Baluchistan, Federal Ministers Khwaja Asif, Ishaq Dar, Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi , Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Pir Syed Sadaruddin Rashidi lt. general (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch and other officials.