ISLAMABAD - Unfolding its strategy to resolve the energy crisis in the country, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday vowed to rid the country of the crisis after coming into power with diligent planning, effective policy and efficient management for a self-reliant and economically stable Pakistan as it identified poor governance and corruption as the main source of prevailing current energy crisis in the country.
Briefing participants of PTI Policy Seminar on “Energy: From Crisis to Solution” at a local hotel, PTI central leader Jehangir Khan Tareen said, “There has been a lack of long-term planning and implementation over the last four decades with increasing reliance on quick but expensive fixes such as imported thermal and rental power plants.”
Herculean but possible: Tareen said that while the challenge was Herculean, it was surmountable if tackled on a war footing.
Hoping to be part of the next federal cabinet led by PTI chairman Imran Khan, Tareen said that the PTI was a symbol of change and was presenting a comprehensive framework on energy before coming in power. He said the current government had neither the ability nor the political will to make the energy sector financially viable. Tareen said that indigenous resources such as domestic gas, abundant hydel potential and Thar Coal had been criminally ignored. He said that imported furnace oil dependence has increased the total oil import bill from $3bn to $12bn in a decade. He said that the government spent Rs 1 trillion in offering subsidies, almost doubled tariffs but still had no solution in sight. He said that the issues of poor governance, planning and implementation, circular debt, financial sustainability, a wrong fuel-mix with two-thirds of power from imported furnace oil and gas needed to be tackled.
A new energy vision: Liberalise and streamline Giving an Energy Policy Vision, Tareen said that the PTI will establish a single, professional ministry of energy and single empowered energy regulator within the first 100 days of a PTI government’s ‘Big Bang’ reforms. He said that it will liberate public sector enterprises (GENCOs, DISCOs, OGDC) from government interference and appoint independent boards with real powers, including the selection of CEOs.
He said that it will open up power sector generation to small and medium investors and adopt use of renewable, off-grid solutions like solar, biomass, micro-hydel for rural electrification besides declaring an emergency on energy conservation.
On the issue of circular debt, Tareen said they will decrease overall transmission and distribution losses from 20 percent to 10 percent and increase collections from 88 percent to 95 percent. He said it will work on converting the 4500MW of expensive furnace oil plants to cheaper imported coal to reduce cost of generation by Rs 475bn annually.
Thar Coal: a game-changer Tareen said that Thar Coal will be prioritised as a game-changer. He said that within five years, 4,000 MW hydel power will be added by fast-tracking stalled pipelines projects and CASA hydel-based import from central Asia. On the gas crisis, Tareen said that 2000 mmcfd of domestic gas will be added within five years by facilitating and incentivising existing and new investors.
On financing future energy investments, Tareen said the PTI government will resolve the circular debt besides setting up infrastructure development and finance institution to catalyse energy investments from overseas Pakistanis, domestic and international investors, sovereign funds etc.
Speaking on the occasion, PTI chairman Imran Khan said that unless politicians have stakes in Pakistan, they will not take long-term decisions. He said that no one who has property and assets abroad will be made part of the PTI cabinet. He promised to solve the problems which have pushed the country to the brink of bankruptcy. He said a chief executive who has 80-member cabinet could not curb corruption as ministers continue to blackmail the Prime Minister for vested interests.