Holding back energy sector reforms can bankrupt country

December 1, 2015 Off By Web Desk

KARACHI: Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) on Wednesday said delay in critical reforms in the energy sector has the potential to bankrupt country.

The official power sector losses, which are Rs320 billion, are over half of the amount allocated in federal developmental budget while independent experts view losses at Rs 370 billion, it said. The circular debt is at Rs 661 billion while theft and wastage has increased from 18.6 percent to 18.7 percent, said President PBIF, All Karachi Industrial Alliance and First Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI Mian Zahid Hussain.

He said that Nepra has allowed power distribution companies to recover 15.2 percent losses from consumers who were earlier paying 13.1 percent of the total losses. Hussain said that sale of Discos might have improved situation which has been delayed by nine months. Some bureaucrats in the gas utilities are failing LNG project, he said, adding that agreement for import of gas has been delayed by nine months.

The government is supposed to pay around 30 million rupees as terminal charges per day which is not being utilised therefore authorities should accept their inability and allow private sector to import gas. He said that pipelines have the capacity of transport imported gas which is not being used otherwise gas companies can generate extra revenue. Continued supply of LNG can give new lease of lift to fertiliser, textile, CNG and general industry.