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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Khan on Tuesday said the government remains committed to solving the energy problems of the country, adding that renewable energy like hydel and solar energy was the way forward.

Addressing at second Int’l Pakistan Energy Summit (PRES) 2022 in Islamabad, the minister said hydel generation was the “mainstay” of the country’s energy and that despite its issues it remained the most feasible source of energy in the long run.

“Interestingly the new magic bullet is solar, as we are told that solar rates are coming down. Therefore, the way forward is hydel plus solar, and whatever wind generation we can come up with,” said Dastgir.

He was of the view that subsidy announced by the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in electricity prices was unaffordable.

“This is a profound crisis and something we are trying to find a solution to this issue,” he added.

The Minister said that half of the power distribution companies in the country remained ungovernable. “The losses are too high, and they have become a sinkhole of public finances, and it’s once again a difficult challenge, that we are grasping,” he said.

The minister informed that the Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP) was in the process of being revised again for approval from the cabinet owing to a “tremendous” rise in the energy prices since the beginning of this year. “In 2013, coal was the cheapest source of energy generation, which is no longer the case due to incredible rise in coal prices in recent weeks,” said Dastgir, adding the case with RLNG and furnace oil was also similar.

Talking about the issues pertaining to K-Electric, the power minister questioned the privatisation of the power utility. “Is it something profoundly wrong in converting a publicly owned monopoly to a privately owned monopoly? As it appears to me that KE is not serving its consumers to their satisfaction.”

Meanwhile, Minister of State Dr Musadik Malik in his address pointed out that dependence on imported fuel had rendered local industries uncompetitive in the international market.

“50 percent of our gasoline oil is imported, and more than a third of our gas is now imported. So the question arises, how can we continue, if we don’t have a competitive industrial footprint in the first place?” asked Malik.

“If we don’t fix this, we cannot fix the external sector, which will push us back towards the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In order for us to have growth and provide employment to our people, it is incumbent upon us that we fix our sector and we decrease our dependence on imported fuel,” he said.

Pakistan imported petroleum products worth $17.033 billion, an increase of 95.84 percent during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year (2021-22) as against the imports of $8.697 billion last year, according to the latest data issued by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

Tauseef H Farooqi-Chairman Nepro, Muhammad Ayoub-GE Regional director, Dr Sardar Mohazzam-MD NEECA, Ali Hamdani-MD SNGPL, Hamza Abdullah Ginlong Solis, Qu Ruichen-SUPCON, Julie koenen-USAID, Shahan Talagala, Jinko Solar, Syed salman Mohiuddin, Goodwe, Member Energy, Wang Bin Hualu Engineering, Waqas Bin Najeeb, Ministry of Planning also addressed on this occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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