ICCI for harnessing hydropower potential to promote economic activities

  • July 17, 2023
Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) said that the high energy cost in Pakistan is a major hurdle in promoting business and industrial activities and called upon the government to focus on harnessing the hydropower potential to promote the economic activities. He stressed that the share of hydropower generation should be increased at least to 50 percent in the total energy mix in order to provide cheap energy to industry, reduce the cost of doing business and facilitate the growth of business activities that would pave the way for early revival of the economy.

Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari said that the government has itself conceded that the LNG-based electricity will cost over Rs.51 per unit this fiscal year, furnace oil-based electricity over Rs.48 while the hydropower costs only Rs.6.94 per unit, which shows that the LNG and oil-based power generations have caused unprecedented hike in the energy cost in Pakistan. He said that according to WAPDA’s estimate, Pakistan has the potential to generate 60,000MW hydroelectricity, but this untapped potential has not been harnessed so far due to which our industry is finding itself uncompetitive causing further decline in exports.

President ICCI said that the high transmission and distribution losses in Pakistan are also contributing towards high energy cost as the government has to increase power tariffs to cover up the rising T&D losses of DISCOs. He urged that the government should develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce T&D losses and power theft besides increasing the share of hydropower in the total energy mix in order to produce cheap energy and make Pakistan an attractive destination for business and investment activities. He said that the low energy cost would also help in promoting FDI, creating more jobs, reducing unemployment and putting Pakistan on the path of sustainable economic growth.