ICCI concerned on adjusting Rs 180 bln commercial loans in power tariff

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ISLAMABAD, Jul 5 (APP):The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed concerns on the move of outgoing government to adjust the financing of Rs180 billion commercial loans in power consumers tariff through a surcharge.
They said it would put additional burden on the business community and bring great miseries to the common man. It called upon the caretaker government to withdraw this decision in the larger interest of the economy.
Sheikh Amir Waheed, President ICCI in a statement on Thursday said that the outgoing government had taken commercial loans of Rs.180 billion to reduce the circular debt which has been built in the consumers’ tariffs which was not a wise move.
He said that Pakistan was generating most of the electricity through furnace oil that was the major cause of rising circular debt and high cost of doing business. He said the costly energy has made our exports uncompetitive in the international market.
He said Pakistan was spending billions of dollars annually on the import of oil for electricity generation and this practice was putting additional pressure on the forex reserves of the country
as well.
Sheikh Amir Waheed urged the government for reducing the heavy reliance on thermal power and focus on indigenous energy sources including hydro and alternative sources. He said this approach would lead to generation of cheap energy, reduce production cost, facilitate better growth of business activities and enhance exports, encourage new investment, create more jobs, promote industrialization and strengthen the economy.
Muhammad Naveed Malik Senior Vice President and Nisar Mirza Vice President, ICCI said that Pakistan could produce thousands megawatts of electricity through indigenous sources including hydro, wind, biomass and solar that would be very cheap compared to the thermal power.
They said that according to a study report of Private Power and Infrastructure Board, Pakistan could produce 40,000 MW electricity through hydropower. Similarly, according to a survey of Pakistan Metrological Department, Sindh has the potential to generate 50,000 MW electricity through wind. They said that no government has made any serious efforts to exploit these indigenous sources for power generation, which was very unfortunate.
They stressed the need for changing the prevailing energy mix and focus on indigenous source of energy to put the country on the path of sustainable economic growth.