Costly electricity is increasing the de-industrialization process fastly, which will further raise poverty and joblessness in the country, said Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Altaf Shakoor here Sunday.

In a statement, he said due to illegal contracts with Independent Power Producers (IPPs), trillions of rupees from the taxpayers money have been paid on account of so-called capacity payments, not only increasing the circular debt but also destroying the whole national economy. He said the capacity payments show that there is excess electricity present in the country while the fact is that people face more than 12 hours a day load shedding in this very hot weather. He said the leaders of political governments of all three major political parties were involved in the capacity payments conspiracy, but no action is being taken against them.

He said agriculture and industry are the backbone of any economy but in our country both these crucial sectors are being criminally neglected. He said costly electricity and gas means that industrialists would have no choice but to close down their units or shift them abroad. He said on one hand the government says it is working on relocation of the Chinese industries to Pakistan but on the other hand our own local industry is being relocated to other countries.

The PDP cheif said the large industry in Pakistan, particularly the Pakistan Steel Mills, was systematically destroyed by a political party during its tenure in the government. He said now the medium sized and small industry was being targeted with the weapon of costly electricity and gas but no one was taking notice of such an anti-people step. He said the IMF-dictated policies would certainly lead this country to bankruptcy and default.

Shakoor said: “We can save our economy by relying on solar and wind energy. The government must give lavish subsidies on solar panels, besides setting up new nuclear power plants and erecting new dams to produce cheaper hydel electricity.”

He demanded that all the agreements with the IPPs should be annulled, especially those related to the capacity payments. He stressed that multiple slabs of electricity tariff should be abolished and there should be a uniform electricity slab for all categories of consumers. He said special subsidies and tax reliefs should be given to local industry so as to salvage the country’s falling economy.