Islamabad: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has welcomed the signing of agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan on electricity transit fee and termed it an encouraging development as it will help Pakistan to cope with the serious problem of energy shortage by importing electricity from Central Asia.
Muzammil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that energy crisis has taken a heavy toll on the growth of our economy as it has badly affected the productivity of business and industry.
He said Pakistan has already suffered 2 to 3 percent GDP growth due to power shortage and government should give top priority to overcoming this major constraint to our economic development.
He said the electricity transit agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan was a major step towards realizing the Central Asia and South Asia vision (CASA-1000 vision) and for promoting energy trading between Central and South Asia.
He was hopeful that the energy import through CASA-1000 would contribute positively in reducing the power deficit and facilitate growth of business activities.
Muzammil Sabri stressed upon the policymakers to also focus on exploiting the indigenous hydropower potential, which is available in abundance in the country.
He said according to a WAPDA study, the hydropower potential in Pakistan was over 100,000 MW with identified sites of 59000 MW and added it was highly unfortunate that no government took any tangible measures to exploit this massive potential despite the fact that there were number of suitable sites on major rivers, barrages and link canals to produce low cost hydroelectricity.
He said during the 1980s, the share of hydropower was 65 percent in our total energy production, but due to lack of proper planning and focus by the policymakers, its share has now come down to around 35 percent which was costing the country dearly.
He said the thermal power tariff in Pakistan was highest in the region due to which cost of doing business in our country has become very high and added that hydropower would bring down production cost significantly as its production costs just Rs.1.35 per unit compared to Rs.16.99 per unit of thermal power.
He was of the view that focus on hydropower would generate multiple benefits for the country as it would bring down production cost, reduce inflation, facilitate the growth of business and industry, make our exports competitive and accelerate the pace of economic growth leading to more jobs creation for providing employment to the rising youth.
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