- Khawaja Asif says energy saving policy would be accorded final approval on Thursday
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Defence, Khawaja Asif Tuesday said the federal government would persuade provinces to implement energy conservation policy, which envisages closure of shops by 8pm and wedding halls by 10pm in view of the current difficult economic situation.
Addressing a press conference along with ministers Qamar Zaman Kaira, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Secretary Power after a cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Asif unveiled the contours of the energy conservation policy, saying the federal government would approach the provinces and after incorporating their inputs in the next two days, the energy saving policy would be accorded final approval on Thursday.
He said as the implementation falls under the purview of provinces, their input is critical. However, he said that the saving energy is inevitable as the country is passing through a difficult economic situation.
The minister said estimates suggest that if 20 percent workforce worked from home on alternate days there would be a saving of Rs56 billion annually. He said the plan/policy envisages limiting wedding halls’ timings to 10pm and restaurants’ and shops’ to 8pm; however, an hour and a half increase would be given to restaurants. This would result in a saving Rs62 billion.
He said the replacement of old fans with new ones would result in the saving of Rs15 billion because old fans consume double the electricity compared to new ones while the country would be saving Rs23 billion through LED bulbs. He said these savings would be in cash besides energy efficiency that would result in the saving of Rs28 billion on account of idle capacity payments. He said some modifications in gas geysers could also help save Rs92 billion annually.
Alternate shifting of street lights would help country save Rs4 billion. “We have started imports for e-bikes and have begun negotiations with motorcycle companies for the modification of existing motorcycles which will save us around Rs86 billion,” he added.
He added that the Ministry of Information would be running a media campaign to spread awareness regarding these new measures.
Talking about water conservation, the minister said that the government had devised ways through which rainwater could be used for daily household consumption.
“In the next few days, we will be approaching all the provinces with this national project and then on Thursday the conservation policy will be given final approval,” Asif maintained.
The minister said across the world, markets are closed around 6 or 7 pm and Pakistan is the only country that does not use daylight benefits and this pattern cannot be afforded any longer as the country is passing through a difficult economic situation. He added that the current economic situation demands people change habits as the government is not asking people to tighten their belts. He said if the country has to remain within its own resources, people must change their habits. He said even in Gulf countries, which are very rich, markets are closed by 9-10 pm.
The minister said the provinces would be requested to implement the policy and this would be part of national culture, which would eventually help the country deal with economic problems by saving fuel.
Asif further said that in other countries only presidents and prime ministers put the national flags on their vehicles. He said that the doors of Toshakhana misuse have been closed forever and a past transaction – (ostensibly referring to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) – would be investigated by the FIA. He said Toshakhana is a “long story” and there is a lot more to come.
Kaira said the country would not default, adding that the energy conservation policy would ensure national saving as the country imports oil and gas, which means that the country would be saving foreign exchange.
He said using a gas saving device will reduce gas consumption.
Our energy import bill has increased to 28 billion dollars, the minister said, adding that it continues to increase like this, more difficult situations will arise, he maintained.
“We are telling people that taking these measures is inevitable,” he said.
“We expect the provincial governments and parties, including trade organisations to support us in this regard.”
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022