Eureka!: Print more currency to solve power crisis, says PM

Published: May 17, 2012

TO NO AVAIL: Rs1.6 trillion have been poured into the power sector on account of circular debt, said the finance minister.

ISLAMABAD: 

The premier has a panacea for the country’s chronic energy woes: printing more currency notes.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, chairing a cabinet session on Wednesday, suggested: “We can print currency notes and pump capital into the electricity sector in order to overcome load-shedding.”

While his suggestion caught ministers present in the session off-guard, Interior Minister Rehman Malik jumped in to endorse the premier.

Malik said there was no problem in printing money, and that a 2 to 3% rise in inflation, which would result from this action, “could be overcome within a few years.”

Energy Crisis

The cabinet had set aside its regular agenda to discuss power shortage in the country.

A cabinet energy committee – comprising ministers for finance, petroleum, water and power and information, Planning Commission’s deputy chairman and State Bank governor – was tasked to meet frequently to sort out the issue.

Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh assured his cabinet colleagues that financial support would be extended to the water and power ministry to eliminate unscheduled load-shedding immediately, and cut down scheduled load-shedding simultaneously. The cabinet decided to utilise the entire thermal and hydel power generation capacity in the country to achieve that goal.

Shaikh said that an energy monitoring control room would be set up in the water and power ministry which would have round-the-clock surveillance of the energy situation. A member of the cabinet energy committee would sit in the control room to monitor the evolving situation, he said.

The cabinet decided to deal strictly with theft and recovery issues in Wapda, but the finance minister said the authority does not have a system to gauge the amount of electricity required by different cities. He said that Wapda needs to develop a system to distribute electricity amongst cities, on the basis of demand.

Despite being asked several times, Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar could not answer a question on the amount of electricity produced by Wapda.

A heated debate over the issue of circular debt was also reported between the finance, petroleum and the water and power ministers. Hafeez said the ‘relevant’ ministers do not understand the issue and are trying to hold the finance ministry responsible for the whole mess by highlighting circular debt.

“It is easy for my colleagues to talk about an issue but difficult to understand it … the finance ministry has given Rs1.6 trillion roughly on account of circular debt, but has seen no results,” he said.

Reopening Nato supplies

While the cabinet endorsed the decisions arrived at Tuesday’s meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, it remained elusive on the issue of reopening supply routes for Nato.

The body gave a go-ahead to President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to Chicago, to attend a Nato summit next week.

Sources said the DCC gave a green signal to lifting the blockade on NATO supplies on Tuesday, and that a Memorandum of Understanding is likely to be formally approved by the cabinet to implement that.

Addressing the ministers, the premier said the government does not want to take an ‘emotional’ decision which would not be beneficial.

Pakistan’s relationship with 43 countries serving in Nato cannot be jeopardised just because of the United States, he added.

The premier also appreciated the opposition for proposing names for the chief election commissioner.

Information on a decision on Nato supplies was not forthcoming from the information minister either.

Briefing the media about cabinet decisions, Qamar Zaman Kaira said no decision has been taken yet regarding the resumption of Nato supplies.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2012.

Reader Comments (19)

  • Cautious
    May 17, 2012 - 4:29AM

    Great strategy — print enough of it and the value will be so low that you can burn it as a fuel.

    Recommend

  • Blithe
    May 17, 2012 - 5:00AM

    And what about the average man living
    on 2 USD a day???
    How will the inflation caused by this printing press
    effect him???

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  • Blithe
    May 17, 2012 - 5:02AM

    Gilani , please shift to Zimbabwae and
    learn what they went through with hyperinflation.

    What an IQ this guy has!!!

    Recommend

  • Kamal K
    May 17, 2012 - 5:19AM

    Government looted country for 4 years. Now there is no money left to loot. So they are printing money so they can loot more money and already poor countrymen will go in more inflation.Recommend

  • Ali
    May 17, 2012 - 6:01AM

    What a genius…………Not.
    Ya Allah hum per reham farma…Please help us to get rid of these stupid/corrupt politician.(Ameen)

    Recommend

  • Disco
    May 17, 2012 - 6:19AM

    The cabinet decided to deal strictly with theft and recovery issues in Wapda, but the finance minister said the authority does not have a system to gauge the amount of electricity required by different cities. He said that Wapda needs to develop a system to distribute electricity amongst cities, on the basis of demand.

    I work in the power industry and I can say this is the most basic of all requirements for any power transmission or distribution company. Most companies had this facility in the early 80s. WAPDA on the other hand is still stuck in the 1950s, along with the rest of our country’s infrastructure.

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  • vasan
    May 17, 2012 - 6:25AM

    Is this how Pakistan’s poverty no is less than 17.5% ??

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    May 17, 2012 - 6:43AM

    Economics Nobel laureate Rehman Malik was on the ball when he said that Pakistan Mint Printing Presses should do the trick to take care of the energy crisis and his equally dysfunctional – Becky Anderson of CNN said that not me – PM was the one making this suggestion. Pakistani Nation do you now understand why we are in the doodoo???

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  • Babloo
    May 17, 2012 - 6:52AM

    Ha the printing started ?

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  • Sonam Shyam
    May 17, 2012 - 6:57AM

    Print more currency to overcome load shedding!!!! I am given to understand that the Pakistan PM is a professional banker and if it is true then his understanding of economic principles is awful. Keep printing currency Mr.PM; a day will come when children will fly kites made of currency notes!

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  • Patriotic
    May 17, 2012 - 7:04AM

    I can’t believe what I just read! Stupid Country! Stupider nation! And of-course these ruling idiots are the cherry at the top!

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  • John B
    May 17, 2012 - 8:13AM

    I was patient to read all the comments. The PM is suggesting Quantitative Easing. If done properly, printing money is a temporary solution along with tight monetary policy. Yes, inflation but that depends on how much money is printed. QE to solve a crisis with gradual withdrawal of currency supply with interest rate hike and tax.

    That said, is PAK that disciplined in her fiscal and tax policy. NO. So, the QE will create an inflation, no doubt

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  • MACHO
    May 17, 2012 - 8:26AM

    Someone knock some sense in him . I dont know how he had made himself premier ??

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  • zafar
    May 17, 2012 - 8:36AM

    This is how national problems are going to solve, Great!! No vision, no direction and no future policy on solid footings, What a democracy we have got!! Sorry PM you dont have any kind of qualitative thoughts. Poor!!!

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  • khalid.pathan
    May 17, 2012 - 8:58AM

    Dear Prime Minister, staying quiet is the best defence against stupidity. What you have said shows the depth of your ignorance. Do you have a brain or a walnut size brain. Any way this nation does not deserve any other Prime Minister except you. Well done!

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  • Umer
    May 17, 2012 - 9:10AM

    In the circumstance can anyone suggest a better way when there is no real money? What is the alternative except to print more money? Not ideal but it keeps the economy going until we have some revenue source.

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  • Sajjad
    May 17, 2012 - 10:29AM

    What a visionary PM we have got……..
    What an idea ……
    Printing more money …
    This genius should be considered for the next Nobel Prize on economy…

    Recommend

  • vigilant
    May 17, 2012 - 12:23PM

    Our PM is economic geniusRecommend

  • Ali
    May 17, 2012 - 1:54PM

    I am not surprised at all. After all he represents a party that gathers most of its strength from illiterate masses and enough to disgrace even apex courts. Literacy is only way out for our nation.

    Recommend

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