PEW lauds govt efforts to reduce energy poverty despite political crisis

ISLAMABAD, Sep 19 (INP): The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday lauded the government for keeping energy high on agenda despite political crisis so that energy poverty can be reduced in the country.

Well-being of large numbers of people in developing countries is negatively affected by very low consumption of energy which is fundamental to improving quality of life and is a key imperative for economic development.

Nearly 1.6 million people still have no access to electricity which affects all aspects of development including livelihoods, access to water, agricultural productivity, health, population levels and education, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that none of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be met without major improvement in the quality and quantity of energy services in developing countries.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said government is expanding access to reliable and modern sources of energy in order to reduce poverty, improve the health of citizens, promote economic growth. Focus on exploitation of Thar coal, the mega and other power projects and permission granted to private sector to import LNG so that dying CNG industry can be resuscitated are steps that reflect resolve of the government.

He said that energy and income poverty are linked together however there is no agreed definition of energy poverty.

Since absence of energy is not life threatening in most of the cases, energy poverty lacks a well-established poverty line to determine the minimum amount of energy needed for living which is impeding welfare of masses across the world.

Electric power consumption (kWh per capita) in Pakistan was last measured at 449.32 when it ranked 113th globally while India ranked 105th.

Household energy consumption rises along with income while the number of energy poor and more than the number of income poor in many countries, said Dr. Mughal, adding that in many rural areas households have limited access to modern energy but relatively easy access to natural resources.

Simple access to modern energy, such as electricity, does not ensure households are energy non-poor; consumption, affordability, pricing and reliability are also key factors.

Although income is a key factor in eliminating energy poverty, energy policies and access to quality energy services also matter, he added.

INP

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