Revamping of energy sector

September 14, 2018

The whole energy sector from the administrative and functional point of view needs to be revamped; negligence and misconduct that led to crisis needs to be corrected; and projects and deals need to be transparently handled. In addition, thoughtless decision-making must be shunned. The influential lobbies should not be permitted to dictate key energy decisions. The impact of the energy crisis on Pakistan’s GDP and macro-economy must be examined. The energy crisis has cost the national economy very much, not only the loss to GDP in terms of missing energy due to the demand-supply gap but also the loss to industrial and commercial activities due to load-shedding and flight of capital from the country. The resulting deindustrialization and flight of capital must be judged. The crisis has played havoc with our industrial sector. In industrial cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Gujranwala and Faisalabad, a very large number of factories have shut down or are working at the bare minimum level resulting in huge flight of capital and investments elsewhere. It was not just more advanced countries that saw a major influx of Pakistani investors, but countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The crisis has greatly hurt the socio-economic fabric of society, reportedly resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs mostly due to lack of industrial and commercial activities. Those affected have been the sole breadwinners of their households; the situation has led to sufferings for millions of people. Regrettably, we have learnt no lessons. With vision and dedication, challenges can be turned into opportunities. And chances have certainly arisen, but only for certain individuals rather than the masses or the country at large. Several who have been keen observers say that the energy crisis is another example of how crises are created to serve vested interests. Nonetheless, the energy crisis can be resolved. Pakistan has the potential, ability and opportunity to prevail over this challenge. Our hand power plants, now underperforming for a wide range of administrative and technical reasons, need be run in a desirable way. Enormous, unexploited local resources including hydropower, renewable and fossil fuels can help with energy security and affordability. Energy conservation, the basis of energy strategies across the world, has to be implanted in the national energy fabric, both in letter and spirit. What the new government needs is the blend of vision, strategy and commitment on the part of their policymakers.

Pakistan has the potential, ability and opportunity to prevail over this challenge

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