PIAF leaders call for focus on energy sector
Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front Chairman Mian Nauman Kabir has urged the government to include hydropower projects in the scope of renewable energy, as the country cannot afford to rely on costly and anti-environment fossil fuels.
In a joint statement, senior vice chairman Nasir Hameed and Vice-chairman Javed Siddiqi also demanded the government to prioritize the whole industry in energy supply at competitive rates on the patron of regional countries like India, China and Bangladesh.
The PTI government has increased the average power tariff by over 40 per cent during the last three years followed by the proposed hike in gas rates by withdrawing subsidies for the industry.
Kabir urged the government to keep the focus on the industry which can generate foreign exchange, contribute to local taxes and generate employment.
The PIAF leaders emphasized the importance of dam development, stating that as much as 20 million acres of barren land can be brought under plough if water is made available by developing water storages in the country.
Nasir Hameed said that with the construction of dams, the country can strengthen its agriculture to attain food security and cope with the fast-growing needs of water in domestic and industrial sectors besides injecting sizeable low-cost hydroelectricity into the national grid to stabilize the national economy
Quoting a report of various government agencies, he observed that hydropower is not being considered under the scope of renewable energy which is contrary to the definition and standards used worldwide.
He maintained that hydropower is the most advanced and mature renewable energy technology and provides some level of electricity generation in more than 160 countries worldwide including Australia, Norway, Brazil, Canada, Vietnam, Sweden, United States and China etc. Moreover, hydropower is an attractive renewable option given the low cost of electricity it produces, low greenhouse gas emissions and the flexibility it provides to the grid.
PIAF vice-chairman Javed Siddiqi, commenting on the factors behind the current scenario of water and hydropower sectors, observed that the situation can be improved by putting a robust development mechanism in place and exercising prompt decision making.
All stakeholders including the business community are ready to play their due role to implement the National Water Policy for water, food and energy security of the country, he said.
He said that the Kalabagh dam should not have been ignored in the federal budget as water scarcity is heading towards the point of no return. Those opposing the Kalabagh Dam are unaware of the ground realities,” he said.
Javed Siddiqi said PIAF fully supports the voice of Nepra, advising the public sector organizations to consider adding hydropower in the scope and definition of renewable energy in various energy policies, rules and regulations.