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Pakistan Observer

Published Date: Sep 24, 2013

SDPI express concerns over increasing inequality, energy crisis

Experts during a discussion at Sustainable Development Policy
Institute (SDPI) expressed concerns over the increasing inequality and energy
crisis, saying bad governance
is threatening the stability and security of the country. They were of the view
that social justice system and
pro poor policies are must for
a progressive prosperous Pakistan.

The experts were speaking at a
panel discussion on "Energy Governance in Pakistan" organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute
(SDPI) here on Monday.

Mr. Shahid Sattar, member (Energy) of the Planning Commission said that energy
sector is the manifestation of
the lack of governance in Pakistan. "Unfortunately, Pakistan has followed a
wrong model of extending gas reserves to specific sector of Pakistan. The high
subsidies on gas bills was a loss of national wealth and caused disparity and injustice to the deprived sections
of the society", he lamented.

While suggesting the adoption of alternative models for the equitable use of national
resources like gas, he said it is time to create a transparent marketing system
and put an end to nepotisms. He said that Ministry for Water and Power needed to be put aside and National
Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) should be made responsible for the
management of power sector. He was of the view that country needed an
integrated energy policy. He agreed to the observation that the fragmentation
of policy-level institutions
was a major impediment in resolving the energy crisis in the country. "Circular
debt cannot be controlled by privatizing the power sector" further he added.

Senior analyst Mukhtar Ahmed said that a broader governance reform is required to improve energy
security along-with a proper planning and an independent energy regularity
authority. Replying to a question, he said that government should try to
control the electricity pilferage at all levels. He said that the government
should also focus on coal and LNG products to reduce energy shortage. Mukhtar
Ahmed also stressed the need for eradicating corruption from the energy sector
and opposed the idea of privatization.