Editorial : Energy shortfall - Tuesday 12th April 2011

THE energy shortages in the country are worsening by the day as the demand for electricity, gas and other fuel outstrips supplies. These shortages have been responsible for the long-duration power blackouts and gas cuts for both domestic and industrial consumers across the country for several years now. The problem has aggravated during the last couple of years. Even the addition of expensive rental 1,700 megawatts to the national grid by the government has failed to improve the situation. The government has done little to overcome the shortages in its three years despite the fact that in his inaugural speech in March 2008, the prime minister had promised to work on a `war footing` to end power cuts in the country. There has been a substantial increase in energy prices, yet the government does not have the financial resources to bridge the supply gap.
The energy shortages, according to the prime minister, are thus feared to double over the next 15 years “unless addressed urgently by all stakeholders in the public and private sectors”. Many would say it could hit Pakistan much sooner than Mr Gilani estimates but few experts would disagree with his admission that his cash-strapped government cannot tackle energy issues on its own. The prime minister has urged the private sector to step forward to help it. He has announced the formation of a government-industry council to make recommendations for a speedy solution to the problem that is affecting growth and resulting in job and production cuts. The private sector is reluctant to invest money in this sector for various reasons, not least of which are allegations of corruption in the award of power projects in the past, judicial activism, bureaucratic hitches and security concerns. There are many who would readily invest in the energy sector. But their lack of trust in the government`s ability to implement its policies and protect their investment is stalling their plans. If the government is serious about forming partnership with private investors in the energy sector it will have to work harder to improve its credibility.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/12/energy-shortfall.html

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