Energy crisis has become synonymous with Pakistan! You cannot speak of one without mentioning the other. The country has been suffering from electricity shortage from the 1980s with recent years showing some improvement in the supply of power. A whole generation has come of age seeing Pakistan in the throes of shortages of various kinds: shortage of electricity, shortages of gas and water and public transport, to name a few, though this depressing list is rather long. All these shortages, especially the energy shortage, have severely been affecting the country’s economy.
In this dismal scenario when hope is in short supply in the energy sector, comes the positive news that the World Bank will provide $100 million for ‘Sindh Solar Energy Project’ with the objective of increasing solar power generation and access to electricity in the province. It is heartening to note the project aims at generation of clean and renewable energy. The power produced will be provided to consumers by setting up solar parks and by installing solar panels on rooftops of public-sector buildings in Karachi, Hyderabad and other cities of Sindh. The project will also provide electricity to 200,000 households in areas with insufficient or no electricity access. The project aims to encourage private sector investment in the development of solar parks. The total cost of the project is $105 million. The International Development Association will extend financing of $100 million and the Government of Sindh will contribute $5 million. The news report, however, does not mention the time in which the project will be completed. We hope there is and should be a time frame for the completion of the project so as to prevent cost overrun, as it has long been one of the banes of public sector schemes. Whether caused by mismanagement or corruption this tendency ought to be checked in view of the long-persisting power shortage in the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2019.