KARACHI: Costly electricity would further spur poverty in Pakistan, making life miserable for tens of millions of poor Pakistanis in both urban and rural areas, said Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Altaf Shakoor.
He said the federal government has imposed additional burden of Rs128 billion on electricity consumers in a bid to revive the IMF loan programme stalled since last year.
A surcharge of Rs76 billion will be collected from power consumers to meet conditions of the IMF, while Rs52 billion will be charged in the wake of deferred payments.
He said electricity is crucial for poverty alleviation, economic growth and improved living standards.
He said the use of energy is indispensable to perform all economic activities. Clean and modern energy resources play a vital role in improving the living standards of every individual.
The importance of energy is never questionable as it is used in all economic activities. But unfortunately, like most developing countries, Pakistan also faces energy poverty. Energy poverty occurs when energy bills represent a high percentage of consumers’ income, or when they must reduce their household’s energy consumption to a degree that negatively impacts their health and well-being.
Altaf Shakoor said that the IMF pre and post conditions are aimed to secure easy retirement of its loans and heavy interests on them. It also ensures that its client’s countries must be poor enough to seek another IMF programme after completing one programme so that the perpetual economic slavery of these hapless countries is fully ensured. He said in fact in a long run a plain and honest default is better than the IMF slavery.
He said in this grim scenario solar power and alternative energy sources seem to be a better workable option for Pakistani people.
He said the government should at least provide solar systems to poor households on easy instalments.
He warned that the ongoing energy poverty in Pakistan would fastly lead to real poverty and hunger and may create very serious social and political consequences.
He said the hands of the rulers are tied with the rope of IMF prior and post conditions and they could not do much in both micro- and macro-economics sectors but at least they can provide more facilities to poor people in terms of renewable energy as a clean energy is not contradictory to the aims and objects of the international lenders like the IMF and World Bank.
He demanded of the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to speed its programme for solarisation of Pakistan to reduce the neck breaking energy poverty in Pakistan to some extent.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023