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Published Date: May 14, 2013

SDPI Press Release (May 14, 2013)

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.

Earlier,
in his introductory remarks, Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI
said that Pakistani voters seemed to 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.