Theft, line losses be eliminated to solve power sector problems: Mian Zahid Hussain

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance and Former Provincial Minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said power generation is continuously increasing but nothing is being done to increase its consumption resulting in heavy losses.

The products that can be easily manufactured in the country are also being imported due to which while the process of industrialization is being affected and the power consumption is also not increasing, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that in addition to the widening current account deficit and weakening rupee due to rising imports, the circular debt of the power sector is also increasing rapidly.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the demand for electricity in Pakistan is 27,000 MW in summer and less than 10,000 MW in winter, which puts a burden of billions of rupees on the national exchequer and adds to the circular debt.

He said that most of the losses are passed on to consumers making their life difficult and fanning inflation.

He said that if the industry was promoted in the country, the demand for electricity in summer and winter would not be poles apart and the people would not have to buy the most expensive electricity in the region.

The business leader observed that in developed countries a gap of 25 to 30 percent between demand and supply of electricity is allowed but in Pakistan this gap is huge and the national treasury cannot afford it.

Mian Zahid Hussain furthered that one of the reasons for the collapse of the power sector is the preference of all governments to generate electricity from the most expensive fuels and neglect to generate electricity from cheap sources which benefited a few while causing severe damage to the economy.

In addition, no attention is being paid to prevent line losses and theft and the continuous increase in the price of electricity on the behest of the IMF is further reducing its demand which is also increasing the losses in the power sector.

The government will have to make electricity cheaper to push a large number of consumers to prefer electricity over gas if the government wants to increase the demand for electricity and reduce losses.

Increased consumption of electricity will increase the demand, solve the problem of capacity payments while eliminating the circular debt and deficit.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that payments should be made to the companies working on CPEC as soon as possible so that various development projects could be completed on time.

The mini-budget has also been finalized which will increase the industrial cost, affect the industrial process and make the life of the people more difficult.

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