No poverty reduction sans ample energy

August 18, 2013 Off By Web Desk

Islamabad: The Pakistan Economy Watch PEW on Sunday asked the government to promote new investments in the energy sector by introducing better regulations as poverty cannot be reduced in presence of energy scarcity.

Access to energy is imperative to transform lives, which is not getting proper attention on the national and global level as majority of Pakistanis as well as a third of the world’s population has no access to modern energy services, it said.

Tens of millions in Pakistan and 1.3 billion people worldwide are still without any form of electricity and 2.7 billion people still cook over open fires despite availability of solutions, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

Estimates say in the next seventeen years three billion will cook with traditional fuels, more than 30 million people will have died due to smoke related diseases and hundreds of millions will be confined to poverty due to lack of energy, he informed.

Of those who don’t have access to modern energy around 70 per cent are women who spend significant time and money to obtain energy that is not only unpredictable, expensive, unsafe, and highly polluting, he said.

Dr Mughal said that lack of access to electricity also prevents the development of key social programmes like education, health, sanitation and provision of clean drinking water, continuing a cycle of poverty that is very difficult to break.

He said that energy is vital to escape poverty but unfortunately lack of interest on the part of governments has left a third of the world’s population has no access to modern energy services which is impeding global growth.

He said that Pakistan government should boost efforts to tame energy crisis and promote new investments as provision of electricity is linked to development of agriculture, industry, trade, jobs, medicine, sanitation and water purification.

Every dollar invested in a solar energy generates more than $46 in economic benefits in the first year alone; it results in a stronger economy, a healthier population, and enables parents to ensure a bright future for their families.

He said that energy enables people to work their way out of poverty, it provides better access to basic services while improving health and wellbeing of everyone, especially that of women and children.