MAKING a statement from Doha, Qatar, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a timely relief for the power consumers when he stated that seventeen million consumers and three hundred thousand tube wells will be exempted from paying the high fuel charges adjustment.
The very announcement would have provided a much needed solace to the consumers who were greatly perturbed after seeing the inflated electricity bills, as these in fact were beyond the size of their pockets, compelling them to protest and tear down the bills in front of the DISCO offices.
This time in fact the people from the rural areas had also come out and joined the protest.
The other day PM Shehbaz Sharif took notice of the public complaints with the promise to address grievances of the power consumers.
And then in a matter of about twenty-four hours, he announced the relief, for which PM Shehbaz Sharif and his entire team deserves appreciation as their gesture demonstrates that they felt the pain and agony of poor people.
Having said so, it is important to address this issue of soaring electricity tariff by shifting from power generation through imported fuel to the utilization of indigenous resources including water, wind, solar and coal for this purpose.
This may take some time but we have to follow this path in order to not only save valuable foreign exchange but also to provide electricity to our people at cheap rates.
As the government is expected to announce a national solar policy soon, there should not be any delay in its implementation and it must envisage measures that promote local production of solar panels as doing so will make them more affordable to our people.
China is the leader in solar technology. Pakistan should work with it to manufacture solar panels inside the SEZs.
This will also bring investment in the country and provide job opportunities to our youths. Then, work should also be accelerated on the construction of dams which are of immense importance because of their utility as storing water.
We strongly believe that exploiting indigenous resources for electricity will open new opportunities of development in different sectors.
Therefore, there should not be any negligence in this regard and PM Shehbaz Sharif should personally monitor the whole process.