Govt’s move to pass on burden of Rs180bln to power consumers condemnable: ICCI

ISLAMABAD, July 05 (INP): The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) has strongly resented the move of the outgoing government to adjust the financing of Rs.180 billion commercial loans in power consumers tariff through a surcharge as it would put additional burden on the business community and bring great miseries to the common man. It called upon the caretaker government to withdraw this decision in the larger interest of the economy.

In a statement issued here on Thursday, President ICCI , Sheikh Amir Waheed said that the outgoing government had taken commercial loans of Rs.180 billion to reduce the circular debt which has been built in the consumers’ tariffs which was not a wise move.

He said that Pakistan was generating most of the electricity through furnace oil that was the major cause of rising circular debt and high cost of doing business. He said the costly energy has made our exports uncompetitive in the international market.

Sheikh Amir Waheed said that Pakistan was spending billions of dollars annually on the import of oil for electricity generation and this practice was putting additional pressure on the forex reserves of the country as well.

The President ICCI urged upon the policymakers and the government to reduce the heavy reliance on thermal power and focus on indigenous energy sources including hydro and alternative sources.

He said this approach would lead to generation of cheap energy, reduce production cost, facilitate better growth of business activities and enhance exports, encourage new investment, create more jobs, promote industrialization and strengthen the economy.

Senior Vice President ICCI Muhammad Naveed Malik and Vice President Nisar Mirza said that Pakistan could produce thousands megawatts of electricity through indigenous sources including hydro, wind, biomass and solar that would be very cheap compared to the thermal power.

They said that according to a study report of Private Power and Infrastructure Board, Pakistan could produce 40,000MW electricity through hydropower. Similarly, according to a survey of Pakistan Metrological Department, Sindh has the potential to generate 50,000MW electricity through wind.

The ICCI office bearers said that no government has made any serious efforts to exploit these indigenous sources for power generation, which was very unfortunate. The result was that the business community and the general public were paying heavy cost of electricity. They stressed upon the policymakers to change the prevailing energy mix and focus on indigenous source of energy to put the country on the path of sustainable economic growth.