Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that power scarcity is a major problem being faced by country and concerted efforts are needed to resolve the issue. The Prime Minister said this 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.
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 said that major changes will be brought in the system to overcome these issues. He said that Pakistan is producing 45% of electricity with furnace oil which is too costly for power generation and has led to higher tariffs. The distribution losses which account 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 said that we plan to put an end to load shedding within next three to four 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 said that the power strategy aims to bring the power tariff down 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 said that the mismanagement and inefficiency of WAPDA and other concerned departments are to be blamed for such a situation. They have miserably failed to maintain the system and today our distribution lines cannot bear the load. Up to 1400 megawatts of electricity can be added to the system, within one year, through proper maintenance of the system, the PM added.
The Prime Minister said that the 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 document to further suggest improvements within their sphere. The Prime Minister directed to form a committee comprising 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 endeavour 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 preventing power pilferage and asked their cooperation in this regard promising all possible assistance.
The meeting was attended by Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister, Punjab. Mr. Qai