taking steps to overcome energy crisis: Ahsan Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: Minister of Planing, Development and Reforms, Professor Ahsan Iqbal here on Thursday said that short, medium and long term measures taken by the government to overcome the energy shortage has started producing dividends.

Inaugurating the 29th Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Pakistan Society for Development Economists (PSDE), the minister said that due to the short-term measures taken by the government about 1,700 MW electricity was added in the national grid by clearing the circular debt.

The 3-day event was organized by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) with an aim to share international best practices in energy efficiency,renewable energy sources,sustainable energy development,energy and house-hold economics.

Besides this,he said that government has started bills recovery campaign, form the defaulted state owned and private institutions, initiated streamlining of line losses and power theft.

He said that Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) projects will be operational from next year which will also help to overcome the gas shortage and ease energy mix issues in the country.

Ahsan Iqbal said that to utilized precious natural reserves of coal, 6,600 MW Thar Coal Power projects has been started besides transforming the Jamshoro Thermal Power Plant into coal.

He said that government was also determined to harnessing its hydro potential to produce cheap electricity by constructing Diamer-Basha Dam and Dassu Dam which will added about 8000 MW of electricity in the national grid during next 5-10 years.

The minister said that 2,100 MW nuclear power plant was also inaugurated in Karachi which will also help to overcome the energy crisis for rapid socio-economic development in the country.

Prof.Ahsan Iqbal stressed the need for introducing cheaper energy mix to provide electricity at affordable rates for masses and sustainable economic growth in the country.

The minister said that per capita energy consumption in country was low as compared to the rest of the countries adding that electricity facility about one third population was not available.

He stressed the need for formulating policies to produce energy with cheaper energy mix by keeping in mid the domestic demands of next five to ten years besides conserving and efficiently use of available energy.

Besides,the energy deficiency,the minister stressed the need to bridging saving and investment gape,fiscal deficit and current account deficit for sustainable economic growth.

Professor Iqbal further asked to bridge the infrastructure deficit adding that now mega development project was started during last 13 years for social sector development.

He also called for enhancing productivity in agri, industrial and services sectors by introducing innovation and price cutting measures to compete in international markets.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chancellor, PIDE, Asad Zaman was of the view that limited access to energy was the main constraint in economic development was due to line losses, theft, poor management and lack of proper energy policy.

He said that expensive energy mix effecting the macro economic growth and stability adding that government should focus on renewable and alternative energy sources including solar, wind, hydel and bio-fuel mix to produce cost affective energy.

Speaking on the occasion,Secretary PIDE Durr-e-Nayyab said that the 4 lecturers and policy papers would also be presented by eminent researchers and scholars on energy issues in the conference.

She informed that more then 250 students were also participating the conference.

Source: APP