ICCI for focusing on cheap energy sources to promote industrialization

  • May 06, 2015
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called upon the government to focus on energy generation through cheap sources including hydro, nuclear and coal in order to overcome energy crisis, reduce energy cost and promote industrialization in the country.
Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that per unit cost of hydro electricity generation was Rs.1.5, nuclear Rs.1.35 and coal Rs.3.46 while cost of electricity generation through oil was more than Rs.20/per unit. These facts make it imperative that government should give top priority to generating electricity through cheap sources, especially hydro, nuclear and coal that will help in bringing down cost of doing business, reducing import bill, boosting industrial activities and creating plenty of new jobs. 
He said due to lack of proper planning on the part the relevant authorities, the energy mix has now changed to disfavor the trade and industry. It was unfortunate that with the passage of time, the policymakers increased reliance on thermal power, which proved very costly for industry and the overall economy. He said in 1990s, the share of hydropower in total production was 45% which had come down to around 28% by 2013 while share of thermal power had increased to over 67%. It showed that the successive governments failed to exploit the cheap energy sources for the benefit of economy despite the fact that these were abundant in the country.
He said the foreign direct investment in power sector has declined to $136.2 million during the first nine months of the current fiscal year as compared to $ 194.4 million during the same period of last year, which should be a cause of concern for policymakers. 
Muzzamil Sabri stressed upon the government to reprioritize the energy structure and give preference to cheap energy sources. He lauded the commissioning of 100MW solar power plant at Bahawalpur and government plan to increase solar power up to 900 MW by 2017. He urged that government should give tax concessions on the import of solar panels and allied equipment and come up with new incentives to encourage use of solar power in domestic sector so that industry could be provided maximum electricity to enhance productivity and exports. 
He said government should also offer attractive incentives to foreign investors, especially for investment in hydro, nuclear   coal sectors. It should speed up the process of converting all oil-based power plants to gas to reduce the cost of energy. He was of the view that if energy cost was brought down to affordable level, Pakistan has all the credentials and great potential to become a hub of business and industrial activities and emerge as a thriving economy in the region.