General elections manifesto: PML-N begins ‘power’ politics

Energy conference offers a broad national consensus.

Qamar Zaman February 21, 2012


In an ostensible step towards its manifesto for the next general elections, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Monday presented its very own solution to the ongoing energy crisis and identified lack of political will, corruption and ad hoc measures, such as resorting to Rental Power Plants (RPPs), as contributing factors to the crisis.

The ongoing crisis had earlier helped PML-N unleash an anti-government campaign last year. This year, the party decided to take it a step further by holding a conference solely restricted to the issues of the energy crisis.

The aim, for the “energy for growth and sustainable development conference” which was attended by party leaders, think tanks and experts in the oil and gas sector, was to consult a wide range of stakeholders and evolve a broad national consensus, to incorporate in the national agenda for economic revival.

“The findings of today’s conference are going to be discussed by the manifesto committee which is in the process of finalising the party’s manifesto for the next general elections,” a party official told The Express Tribune. The party has already incorporated a chapter on energy in its draft manifesto.

“The biggest challenge for any new government which will assume responsibility after the next elections will be to deal with this energy crisis in the shortest possible time,” PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif said in a written message for the participants of the conference.

Nawaz went on to add that the present energy crisis could be traced back to the early 1990s, when independent power producers (IPPs) were given very generous terms to set up power plants based on imported furnace oil. This policy, under which several thermal plants with a total capacity of 7,000 MW were set up, drastically changed the hydro-thermal mix from 70:30 in the early 1990s to 30:70 at present, and increased the country’s dependence on imported fuel for its energy needs with serious economic and environmental consequences.

Nawaz said the problem of circular debt was also a direct consequence of the flawed energy policy, adding that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government had added fuel to the fire by implementing ad hoc measures, such as the installation of Rental Power Plants (RPPs), which further increased the cost of generating electricity.

Furthermore, he highlighted the crippling effect of corruption – saying that large kickbacks had led to electricity being generated at well over Rs20 per KWH at some of the old RPPs, adding to the stock of circular debt.

According to a recent World Bank report, Pakistan’s estimated production loss is 2% of GDP per annum due to power shortages and load-shedding.

“I firmly believe that the future mode of development is public-private partnership and we will offer the right incentives for attracting investments into this area,” said Nawaz. Miftah Ismail presented the PML-N’s proposed energy strategy.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2012.


MAC | 12 years ago | Reply

To those people who think THEY represent Pakistan, let me assure you are not the only ones.The party has millions of voters, as does the PPP. From all socio-economic backgrounds. That is fact. The fact that despite the times they got in power,these people STILL voted them back overwhelmingly shows they have the trust of the people.This is something a certain class of people don't understand.

Disco | 12 years ago | Reply

Can anyone tell me what have been doing for the past 4 years? Have they not been in power? Why did they suddenly remember energy when the election is near?

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