ISLAMABAD: The government should speed up reforms in the energy sector so that the economy can progress in a sustainable manner, a business leader said Monday. The infamous circular debt has reached Rs1.7 trillion and it will surpass Rs two trillion by the next year posing a serious threat to the economy, said Shahid Rasheed Butt former president ICCI.
He said that rising prices of electricity and gas will jeopardise industrial future of the country, therefore, mismanagement and inefficiency in these sectors should be tackled. Shahid Rasheed Butt said that the rotten system should be improved through proper intervention otherwise it will lay waste to industry, agriculture, and exports as electricity in Pakistan is costly as compared to all regional countries. The power sector has also become a permanent pain for the masses and the trading community and a further upward revision in its tariff will promote theft while people and the business community can also opt-out of the national grid to produce power through solar, captive power and other means, which will add to the losses of the government.
He said that the demand for electricity has been reduced to the extent that it has become a problem for the government and a tariff increase will result in further contraction in demand.
Present the demand of electricity is less than production while the fixed capacity charges of power plants continue to increase while theft of trillions of rupees of electricity has become an issue, which should be noticed.
He said that agreements signed with independent power producers should be revisited and renegotiated to save the power sector and distribution companies should be sold to the private sector or bifurcated to resolve the issue.