Published Date: Jan 3, 2012
DAMAGE CONTROL: IN THE THROES OF POOR ECONOMY AND ENERGY CRISIS
Inequality, energy crisis and poor governance threaten stability and security of the country. While social justice and pro-poor governance are a must for a peaceful and prosperous future.
These views, that were endorsed by the fiery protests against the CNG load shedding on the same day, were expressed at a seminar titled “Deepening crisis of energy, economy and stability: where do the poor stand?” that was held on Monday. The discussion was organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
While speaking at the occasion, Centre for Research and Security Studies Chairman Imtiaz Gul said the deep-rooted VIP culture, with ever-increasing perks and privileges of the ruling elites, has pushed the people to the bottom of country’s priorities.
He said poor economy and insecurity have pushed the nation into a social and governance paralysis. Gul also lamented how cartels fleeced the money of poor and cautioned there is a strong likelihood that the county could drift in the hands of religio-politico forces. While citing State Bank’s report, he said domestic issues are more decisive and chronic and the country needs a strong political leadership to deal with these worsening issues.
SDPI Senior Research Associate Arif Naveed stated that poverty and wellbeing of the common man have emerged as serious challenges for Pakistan. He highlighted that poverty in the country is differentially distributed along the ethnic lines. While overall poverty in Pakistan is 33 per cent, it is 52 per cent in Balochistan and only 19 per cent in Punjab.
“Pakistan is currently on the verge of a fiscal crisis,” said Head of Research, Business Recorder, Karachi, Ali Khizar Aslam. He recommended reduction in reliance on Compressed Natural Gas, enhancement of alternate energy sources such as solar power, import of Liquefied Petroleum Gas and revision of oil exploration policy. He said gas reserves are rapidly depleting. “The hydro-consumption had decreased from 38 per cent to 33 per cent while oil consumption was increasing, which is again not a healthy sign,” he added.
SDPI Senior Advisor Water and Energy Arshad Abbasi said energy crisis has become not only a social crisis but an institutional failure and a challenge to the stability of country. He said transparency and merit, shifting of focus from power sector to renewable sources, completion of under construction hydro projects on fast-track basis and promotion of bio-gas sources are some of the solutions to country’s current problems.