Reduced solar panel prices can help promote freelancing in remote GB areas

Freelancers in remote areas of Gilgit-Baltistan are facing difficulties in fulfilling their tasks owing to frequent power suspensions. 

However, the recent reduction in the prices of solar panels has made it possible for people in the region’s rural parts to power their homes and workplaces at affordable costs.

Talking to WealthPK, Ghulam Rehman, president of GB Freelancers Association, said that solar energy provided a reliable source of power, enabling freelancers to work smoothly.

“Freelancers and online businesses depend heavily on a reliable internet connection, which is possible through uninterrupted power supply. Power outages and voltage fluctuations often cause damage to equipment and data loss. Moreover, data loss can be catastrophic, leading to hours or even days of lost work,” he said.

He pointed out that the freelancing sector in GB is heavily influenced by the seasonal power outage cycle with winters regularly disrupting workflow and client engagements due to prolonged electricity outages, making it challenging for freelancers to maintain a consistent income and meet deadlines.

Ghulam suggested the government should offer soft loans to freelancers, enabling them to buy solar panels and ensure a reliable and sustainable source of energy at their homes. “As solar panel prices have dropped during the last six months, the government should introduce a loan scheme to provide solar panels with flexible repayment terms, eliminating the need for upfront capital expenditure. With loan tenures ranging from 24 to 60 months, freelancers can choose a repayment plan that suits their financial needs, ensuring minimal disruption to their cash flow. This initiative would empower rural freelancers, promote clean energy and contribute to the economic growth of the region,” he concluded.

Muhammad Iqbal Kakakhail, Manager of Ideomatrix, a freelancing company, told WealthPK that deadlines are missed and productivity is lost when there are power interruptions. “A freelancer’s ability to provide clients with high-quality work is greatly dependent upon the quality of their internet connection. They are unable to operate when the power goes out, which causes late submissions and dissatisfied clients, leading to financial losses.” 

Iqbal lamented that power interruptions cause people to become isolated and cut off from global opportunities. “Due to limited internet and online resources, freelancers in rural areas of GB miss out on important updates, training and networking opportunities. This results in a lack of skill advancement and a decreased ability to compete in the global market.”

He opined that the government should free up electricity by solarizing hospitals, colleges, schools, universities and other government institutions for freelancers.

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