Traders (ICCI for fast track privatization of energy sector to get rid of energy crisis)

Islamabad: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called upon the government to go for fast track privatization of energy sector to get rid of energy crisis which has badly crippled manufacturing activities and remained one of the major factors for slow growth of economy.

Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that centralization of energy policymaking and the federal government’s control over power generation, transmission and distribution companies are the main causes of persistent energy crisis and the best solution of this serious issue is to privatize the whole energy sector to bring competition and efficiency in the sector.

He said NEPRA’s recent “State of Industry” report has predicted that the prevailing energy crisis would continue till 2019/20 which is alarming because if not tackled on urgent basis, it would fail all efforts to revive the economy.

He said that privatization and liberalization of telecommunication and banking sectors in Pakistan have produced highly beneficial results for the country as it greatly improved service delivery, gave new choices to the end consumers, brought down prices, created plenty of jobs and generated sufficient tax revenue for the government.

He said privatization of energy sector would also lead to more efficient and reliable service delivery and free up government resources to spend on health and education instead of spending billions on subsidies.

He said the centralized control of energy sector in Pakistan has contributed to inefficiency and lack of professionalism in energy companies as it failed to foster competition and provided no incentive to power companies to utilize more efficient technology and go for fuel optimization. However, the private sector delivers through competition as businesses utilize latest technology, compete with each other and in this process value is passed on to the consumer.

Muzzamil Sabri said that UK and many other countries have transformed their power sectors by privatizing and liberalizing this sector. He said that the privatization of K-Electric has also led to reduced loadshedding in Karachi and better service delivery as well as collection of receivables.

He was of the view that privatization of energy sector would lure local and foreign direct investment in energy sector, introduce efficient, reliable, greener and sustainable new technologies.

He stressed that government should go for fast track privatization of all power entities to get rid of the chronic problems of circular debts and energy deficit which would help in triggering sustainable economic growth of the country.

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