Thar coal can transform Saarc into energy rich: IWCCI

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry IWCCI on Sunday said Saarc is the most energy deficient region in the world which has made it home to the majority of the poor living on earth.

Tens of millions of lives can be transformed in Pakistan and whole region by giving masses the access to affordable energy, it said. Economies can be energised by tackling the problem of energy scarcity for which best use of Thar coal has become imperative, said Farida Rashid, President IWCCI.

Talking to business community, she said that proper management of Thar coal can resolve issues like stalled economic progress, wealth distribution gaps, high unemployment, soaring inflation and rising oil import bill.

She said that at the twelfth SAARC Summit, the heads of states agreed to strengthen energy cooperation for accelerated and balanced economic growth but little had been done in the last nine years.

Farida said that all the members of Saarc except Bhutan were energy deficient and oil importing countries which would face a minimum of 200 per cent hike in energy demand in the next fourteen years. In the region, 29 per cent of energy demand in satisfied with oil, 48 pc with coal, 15 pc with natural gas, 7 pc with hydel and one pc with nuclear energy, she said adding that energy mix of majority of the countries is not sustainable.

Farida said that there was a direct relationship between economic growth and increased demand of energy as well as its continuous supply. She said that it is very important to explore all possible options to ensure and enhance regular supply of energy to support the economic growth and help alleviate poverty.

Saarc is home to 23 per cent of total world population where 500 million lives below the poverty line that deserves a better life. Further delay in exploitation of Thar coal will have very negative consequences for Pakistan, warned Farida.