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Energy policy: Govt urged to take businesses on board

The business community of the federal capital has urged the government to take all stake-holders on board before finalising the National Energy Policy 2013-18.

The energy crisis is not related to politicians, bureaucrats and domestic consumers only, one of the most important segment is the business community and the government is ignoring us,” said Zafar Bakhtawari, president, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).

In a meeting of the ICCI here on Monday, it was noted that energy shortage was the most serious issue that has badly affected trade, industry and overall economy.

Traders and industrialists observed that the government should consult all important stakeholders to develop a consensus on the energy policy.

The ICCI members said that the new energy policy has set targets of ending the growing electricity supply gap and changing energy mix to cut costs during a period of four to five years, which appear too ambitious to achieve.

“Achieving these targets also needs massive investment of $25-30 billion and the government should go for developing a public-private partnership as it will not be possible to end supply gap or change the energy mix without huge investment,” Mr Zafar Bakhtawari said.

The ICCI meeting concluded with remarks that the new energy policy should focus on exploitation of indigenous energy sources like hydro and coal as enhancing share of these sources in energy mix would produce cheap energy and help in reducing the cost of doing business Pakistan.

While, appreciating the government’s move to privatise power generation and distribution companies as it will improve their performance, as it has been witnessed after the deregulation of telecom and banking sectors.

“Privatisation of the power sector will also create a healthy competition and reduce power tariffs,” Mr Bakhtawari said.

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