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The News

Published Date: May 16, 2013

Country?s future lies in renewable energy

Dr
Tariq Banuri from University of Utah, USA, has said that government must now
think strategically and devise a development strategy which must be a
combination of growth, social sector, energy and innovation strategies coupled
with introduction of reforms and good governance measures.

Dr
Banuri was speaking at a special talk on "Development priorities for new
government" organised here by Sustainable Development Policy Institute.

Dr
Banuri said that every new government comes with a sense of optimism to turn
things around and wished the new government to bring positive developments
contained in their manifestoes. However, he said, continuity of process and
policies is fundamentally important to spur growth and development in the
country.

Referring
to challenges of revival of economy and energy crisis he said that economy can
automatically be uplifted with radical expansion in energy generation. He said
that conventional energy resources are under stress and it is the established
fact worldwide that future now lies in renewable energy. He called upon the new
government to strategically invest in energy sector with emphasis on renewables,
Thar coal and efficacy of the system along with efforts to reduce the power
tariff. Appreciating the start of Pak-Iran gas pipeline project, the professor
from USA showed his reservation which according to him has higher rates as
compared to international market.

Dr
Banuri said that Pakistan needs to learn from regional success models such as
Malaysia which through education and innovation have transformed themselves
into knowledge-based economies. He said that Pakistani economy needs critical
reforms to be able to stand on its feet where the most important contributor
can be to have substantial increase in tax to GDP ratio. He also talked of
reforms in government bureaucracy with particular emphasis on accountability
and coherence of various pillars of state such as judiciary and executive.

Speaking
on the occasion, caretaker Minister for Water and Power Dr Mussadaq Malik said
that energy crisis in Pakistan is the result of increasing demand-supply gap,
pricing structure and efficacy challenges with losses in transmission and
distribution system. He said 44% of power is produced from furnace oil which
results in very high tariff for consumers in Pakistan. But this costly
electricity is heavily subsidised and consumers are charged Rs 9 per unit and
in average 2-4 rupees per unit is paid by common consumers. He said producing
costly electricity and distributing it at subsidised prices cannot work
anywhere in the world. He also lamented lack of accountability regime and
management crisis which is contributing in power crisis in Pakistan.

Dr
Rehana Siddiqui, Joint Director, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics,
urged the elected government to devise policies for Pakistani youth bulge which
is a huge demographic dividend but no serious effort has been made to tape this
resource.

Earlier,
in his introductory remarks, Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI,
said that Pakistani voters seemingly opted for performance and now the elected
government has to deliver on its promises. He said the first immediate
challenge is to take the ownership of budget which has already been prepared by
bureaucracy and negotiate with IMF for loan otherwise Pakistan is on the verge
of default.

He
urged government to revise energy mix and plug the loopholes to address energy
crisis. He said perhaps revival of economy could be a laborious task but
plugging the loopholes can provide some relief to people in short time.