ICCI shows concerns over long loadshedding for industry during Ramadan

  • June 01, 2016
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has shown concerns over the government move to observe almost 10 hours loadshedding for industry during the month of Ramadan in order to provide electricity to the domestic consumers and termed it another setback for the economy as without power supply, production activities would come to halt bringing more problems for the local industry as well as the overall economy. 
Atif Ikram Sheikh, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that due to insufficient power supply, industry was already operating far below its actual capacity and long hours loadshedding during Ramadan would further hurt manufacturing activities. He said Pakistan’s exports have fallen by over 14% during the first 10 months of current fiscal year and proposed loadshedding for industry would cause further decline in our exports as exporters would not be able to meet the export orders on time. He said without electricity for 10 hours, industrial units in Punjab would be forced to lay off thousands of workers ahead of Eid which would deprive many families of Eid celebrations. 
He said energy was the lifeline of our economy and most vital instrument for industrial development of our country, but it was unfortunate that successive governments could not make any comprehensive plan to cope with rising energy demand of the country. He said energy sector of Pakistan was still marred with many problems as rapid demand growth, rising transmission and distribution losses due to outdated power network, electricity theft, and seasonal reductions in the availability of hydropower have worsened the situation.
Atif Ikram Sheikh said that one good option for the government to cope with rising energy demand was to pay more attention towards the renewable energy sources. He said Pakistan was fortunately located at a beneficial geographical location where potential for all the renewable energy sources including solar, wind, biogas, biomass, mini and micro hydel existed abundantly. He said the worldwide utilization of renewable energy was on a fast track and urged that Pakistan should make a comprehensive program for fast track exploitation of renewable energy sources to ensure sustainable economic growth of the country.  
He urged that government should abolish the prevailing power sector licensing regime and allow the private sector to set up power plants for providing electricity to industrial and domestic consumers. He said provinces should also be allowed to establish their own power regulatory bodies and power generation companies to meet their energy needs. He was of the view that ending monopoly over power sector and opening this sector for competition was the best way forward to cope with prevailing energy crisis of the country.