Solar energy should be encouraged to avoid expensive electricity.

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Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Friday that electricity is becoming more expensive due to line losses, capacity payments, and thefts. Forcing people to avoid alternatives and use expensive electricity violates their fundamental rights, so he said this process should be stopped.

Mian Zahid Hussain said it is important to attract consumers towards solar energy, make its equipment cheaper, and provide long-term interest-free loans to people, enabling them to use solar energy.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that Pakistan is among the top countries in the world in terms of solar power potential. According to international experts, Pakistan can get 40% of its electricity requirement through solar energy. Still, instead of using this sector for public welfare, it is being used as a source of profiteering.

Suppose other sources of renewable energy are adopted along with solar energy. In that case, there will be no need to generate electricity from imported oil, gas, or coal, and the country will also be able to export electricity.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that people whose businesses are related to oil, gas, coal, and expensive electricity will never accept renewable energy. The oil, gas, and coal mafias resisted solar power in dozens of countries. Still, he informed the governments to make decisions according to the public interest, which relieved the people and reduced environmental pollution.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the use of solar energy in Pakistan is less than 2%, while in India, it is 16%. This sector cannot compete with other powerful energy sectors, nor can it flourish without the government’s patronage, but the rules for net metering of solar energy have been tightened.

Pakistan has the distinction of being the only country in the world where a 17% tax is also payable on solar components and installation, he said, adding that the cost of acquiring solar energy in the country has increased by 40 to 50% due to a shortage of semiconductors, increasing transportation costs, and the depreciation of the rupee. There is a need for easing and removing conditions, not tightening them and raising taxes.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that there is great potential in hydropower and wind power in Pakistan, but it is not being given proper attention. There are 3377 million metric tons of coal in the country, but despite this, this gift of God is not being used in the way it should be; otherwise, electricity would not be so expensive.

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