RE (PPI) - Though the formation of Govt-Industry Energy Council (GIEC) by the Prime Minister is a step in right direction but the need of the hour is to initiate work on doable power generation projects as energy is an essential driver of the economy and things are fast getting out of hand with every passing day.
In a statement issued here Monday, the Chairman Pakistan Industrial and Traders associations Front (PIAF) Engineer Sohail Lashari and Chairman Lahore Township Industries Association (LTIA) Haroon Shafiq Chaudhry said it was very unfortunate that not only the industry but the masses as well were suffering badly due to over 3000MW electricity shortage.
The PIAF Chairman said that the Manufacturing Sector was in deep troubles and its growth could exceed 2.3 per cent despite best efforts by the private sector. They feared that if the situation remained the same for quite some time now, the manufacturing growth would come down further.
He said that had a little attention been given towards the construction of water reservoirs in the country, the situation today would have been quite different. He said that the government should also immediately initiate exercise to develop consensus for the early construction of Kalabagh Dam that is one of the best solution to the acute shortage of energy.
He said that the cheaper electricity was not only essential for the industrial sector but it was also necessary for the agriculture. He said that besides the industrial sector, the agriculture sector would also suffer badly because the produce would be costlier when the tubewells would be running on diesel instead of electricity.
The PIAF Chairman said that the energy shortage is the single most critical factor that is responsible for poor domestic output. This, in turn, is compromising the governments ability to raise its collections from taxes levied in the value added mode, inclusive of sales tax and excise duty. High energy costs, passed on to the consumers are fuelling inflationary pressures. Without ensuring uninterrupted energy supply to the industry, the government cannot possibly hope to increase the Gross Domestic Product growth rate or indeed facilitate competition of Pakistani exports with those of our competitors.
He suggested to the government to give priority to the development of local energy sources including hydel and Thar coal field.
The PIAF Chairman also urged the Prime Minister to announce a special package of incentives in forthcoming budget for the revival of business activities and to give boost to exports so that the country could be able to undo the negative affects caused by global financial crisis and acute shortage of electricity. The Chairman PIAF said that the private sector had both the ability and the potential cope with fast increasing unemployment and poverty but to ensure the contribution of the private sector, the government would have to provide it with uninterrupted supply of electricity.