Power sector suffering from incompetence

Islamabad, August 16, 2023 (PPI-OT): Saifuddin Sheikh, Executive Director of Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) said on Wednesday that the most important sector of electricity is suffering from incompetence and corruption. This sector has become a big problem for the people and the business community, and the economy cannot be improved in the presence of a dysfunctional power sector, he said.

Since 1994, such policies have been introduced in the power sector, which made domestic and foreign investors happy, but the masses, traders, and industrialists were put to the axe, he added. Saifuddin Sheikh said in a statement issued here today that over the past decades, every government has made lofty claims to revive this sector but worsened the situation.

He said that the agreements made since 1994 did not take into account the interests of the country and the nation, which never allowed the GDP to increase. During this time, reforms were not carried out, and several times the GDP was artificially inflated to achieve political ends, which further distorted the energy sector and the overall economy.

He said that by the end of last year, the circular debt of this sector had increased to 2.31 trillion rupees, which continues to increase due to the absence of reforms. The reasons behind the fall of the electricity sector include dependence on imported oil, a lack of interest by authorities in solar and wind power, increased taxes on renewable energy, electricity theft, non-payment of bills, free electricity to the elite, and neglect of local oil and gas production.

Sheikh said that the former government increased electricity rates by Rs 15 per unit from July until the end of their tenure, which caused irreparable damage to the people and the economy leaving exporters unable to compete in the international market. He observed that attempting economic development without improving the power sector is nothing but a pipedream.

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