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Pakistan Observer

Published Date: May 15, 2013

Experts urge PML-N to place atop energy, economy revival

Experts
have called upon the newly elected government to place energy, revival of
economy and establishing peace and security at top of its priorities.

Speaking
at a special talk on "Development Priorities for New Government" they said that
people need immediate relief from prolonged energy crisis and shattered economy
where delivering to expectations in this situation can now prove an uphill task
for new government. The event was organized by Sustainable Development Policy
Institute (SDPI) here on Tuesday.

Speaking
as key note speaker, Professor Dr. Tariq Banuri from University of Utah, USA
said that government must now think strategically and devise a ‘development
strategy’ which must be a combination of ‘growth strategy’, ‘social sector
startegy, ‘energy startegy’ and ‘innovation strategy’ coupled with introduction of reforms and good
governance measures.He said that every new government comes with a sense of
optimism to turn things around and wished the new government to bring positive
developments inscribed in their manifestos. However he said that continuity of
process and policies is fundamentally important to spur growth and development
in the country.

Referring
to daunting 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 lot of 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 renewable, Thar coal and efficacy of the system along
with efforts to reduce the power tariff. He appreciated the start of Pak Iran gas pipeline project but showed
his reservation which
according to him has higher rates as compared to international market.

He
said that Pakistan needs to
learn from regional success
models such as Malaysia who through education and innovation have transformed
themselves into knowledge economies. He said 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
at 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 forty
four percent of power is produced from furnace which results in very high
tarrif for consumers in Pakistan. But this costly electricity is heavily subsidized and consumers are charged
9 rupees per unit and in average 2-4 rupees per unit is paid by common
consumers. He said producing costly electricity and distributing it at subsidized
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 (PIDE) urged the elected government to devise policies
for Pakistani youth bulge which she said is a huge demographic dividend but no
serious effort has been made to tape this resource.