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Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

THE REALITY BEHIND UNENDING ENERGY WOES

A shortage of electricity means children cannot study at night, people cannot run businesses during the day, and clinics and hospitals cannot provide health services. The energy crisis that has lingered on over the years has not only affected the daily life of the people of Pakistan, it is also hindering the overall development and progress of the country.

Power failures gained momentum towards the end of the Musharraf regime, when load-shedding exceeded over 2,000 megawatts (MW). This had happened for the first time in history, after an extraordinary period that saw Pakistan with surplus electricity from the late 1990s to 2004-05. The power deficit soon crossed the level of 6,000MW during 2011-12, and has only worsened since. In May, this year, this shortfall surpassed 7,000MW.

Currently, Pakistan has an installed electricity generation capacity of about 19,500MW. Hydel power generation accounts for about 8,000MW, whereas the remaining 11,500MW is dependent on thermal power plants which use natural gas or furnace oil.

One of the major reasons for the severe shortfall is a reduction in the supply of natural gas for electricity generation. A reduction of nearly 33% over six years has been observed due to the unprecedented allocation of natural gas to other sectors. Electricity generated from natural gas, which stood at a peak of 43,472 gigawatt hours (GWh) in 2005, declined drastically to 25,879 GWh in 2011.

The lack of transparency and accountability, maladministration in generation companies and the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, a frail transmission and distribution network, inefficient electricity production through fossils fuels, outdated policies, chronic line losses and power theft are other contributing factors responsible for the crisis in the power sector.

This persistent shortage of electricity has adversely affected the economy. According to the Planning Commission of Pakistan, total accumulated circular debt for fiscal 2013 is around Rs742 billion; whereas each month around Rs30.5 billion is added to circular debt on account of the tariff differential subsidy and other cash flow issues.

This huge burden on the public exchequer is largely due to misconduct and misgovernance of power sector companies and basic structural impediments throughout the sector. In addition to that, power shortages have resulted in an annual loss of about 3-4% of GDP, which is alarming. Meanwhile, around 10% of the labour force has been either unemployed or laid off.

Although installed generation capacity is greater than peak summer demand, exorbitant production costs makes the electricity unaffordable for domestic consumers and uneconomical for commercial uses.

It is a proven fact that access to sustainable energy boosts economic growth dramatically and directly improves the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable. According to estimates, for every 1% of GDP growth in Pakistan, an increase of 1.25% in electricity supply is required. However, there is dire need of continued investment in the power sector to achieve sustained economic growth. If done right, sustainable power can be made available because Pakistan has huge hydro and thermal energy reserves.

It is commendable that PML-N leadership has identified increased access and more reliable electricity as a key priority to build a brighter future. Now it is the government’s responsibility to measure up to the expectations of the people of Pakistan for what has been promised.

This article was originally published at: The Express Tribune

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.