ISLAMABAD: On Tuesday, the Federal Cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, authorised the immediate implementation of the Energy Conservation Plan.
At a press conference in Islamabad with other cabinet members, Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif highlighted key aspects of the energy conservation plan. He added that under the plan, shops would shut by 8.30 p.m. and restaurants and wedding halls by 10 p.m. He said that the measures authorised by the cabinet would result in an estimated $273 million in savings for the nation.
The manufacture of ineffective electric fans will end as of July 1st, according to the minister of defence. He said that inefficient electric fans would be subject to an extra tax, which would result in a savings of Rs. 15 billion. According to Khawaja Asif, a campaign would be started on print, electronic, and social media to inform people about the energy saving strategy.
Specifically because of the use of fans in hotter temperatures, he said that Pakistan’s peak summer power demand was 29,000 megawatts (MW), as opposed to 12,000 MW in the winter.
He continued by saying that before making any decisions, the federal government must consult with the provinces.
He criticised the current administration and said that the decision was made in a private meeting, adding that it is unreasonable to expect the provincial government to adhere to such a plan.
Additionally, he urged that before requiring the market closing at 8:30 p.m., the government should engage all of the country’s chambers of business.
While expressing his support for the nation’s business community, he also said that the government should take into account the unemployment rate and the general state of the economy, noting to the coalition government that the textile industry is among many others that are closing down as a result of the financial crisis.
TRADER REJECTS 8:30 PM MARKET CLOSURE
The federal government’s proposal to shut all markets and restaurants by 8:30 p.m. as part of a new energy conservation plan has been opposed by traders throughout the nation, who claim that such measures cannot be used to conserve energy.
The head of Markazi Tanzeem-e-Tajran Pakistan (MTTP), Kashif Chaudhry, issued a statement in which he said that the government had developed the policy without consulting the business sector and had failed to adhere to the energy conservation plan.
Kashif Chaudhry said, “It is not feasible to conserve energy by such tactics,” and threatened’strong opposition’ if the government attempted to forcibly shut the stores.
He bemoaned the fact that the administration opted to enact its “unilateral” action despite loud objections and assurances from the authorities.
At an effort to save energy, he urged that the government should forbid its employees from using heaters and air conditioners in their workplaces. We buy the most costly power, thus advantageous tactics have to be developed for us, he said.
Meanwhile, the president of the Karachi Electronics Dealers Association, Rizwan Irfan, said that the Sindh government has met with owners of wedding venues and restaurants over the energy-saving strategy.
During the talks, he said, all parties involved agreed that markets and malls should be permitted to stay open until 9 or 10 p.m., while eateries and wedding venues should be permitted to stay open until 11 or 12 p.m.
Irfan bemoaned, pleading with the government to foot their costs, “However, despite Sindh government’s guarantee they enforced a unilateral decision.”
Ilyas Memon, president of the Saddr Traders Association, said that the decision to stop markets early amounted to the destruction of enterprises.
He said that the Sindh government should not file a FIR in accordance with the conclusions made at the consultative conference, saying “The police and the administration should not persecute the businesspeople.”
The federal government’s initiative to save electricity was also rejected by the KP administration. Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, the KP CM’s information advisor, said that the province administration was not consulted on the federal government’s energy saving strategy. He said that before approving any such scheme, the federal government need to have gained the trust of all parties.
He noted that the KP government has already implemented a number of energy-saving initiatives, such as broad solarization and the adoption of LED lamps.
He said that actions were being done to stop environmental contamination.
According to the information advisor, the provincial administration has not yet made a decision regarding the execution of federal government policy.
Water charges would be reassessed, according to the defence minister, to enforce water conservation. He said that in order to guarantee effective use of water, building control authorities will make the required changes to housing society bylaws.
Khawaja Asif said that at the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif gave the order to cut the use of power by all federal ministries by 30%. He said that the Prime Minister had also instructed all offices to reduce wasteful usage of electric equipment.
According to the minister, half of all street lights would be left off nationwide.
In order to help the average person, the federal cabinet also authorised a decrease in the maximum retail price of 20 medications. According to Khawaja Asif, the FBR has been instructed to provide a separate tax directory of the lawmakers.
The production of incandescent light bulbs will cease as of February 1st, according to the minister of defence. This, he said, would enable savings of 22 billion rupees.
According to Khawaja Asif, all public sector agencies would make sure to employ energy-efficient equipment, and backup street lights will be turned on.
Conical baffles will be put in geysers within a year, according to the defence minister, to guarantee gas conservation, which is expected to result in savings of 92 billion rupees. According to Khawaja Asif, the nation is introducing electric motorcycles to save the three billion dollars now spent on the usage of gasoline in motorbikes.
The Defence Minister said that a committee led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would study this suggestion with relation to work-from-home policies, and a decision will be made in eight to 10 days.
Senator Sherry Rehman, the minister for climate change, said that the new Energy Conservation Plan would assist in dealing with the harmful effects of climate change. Engineer Ghulam Dastgir Khan, the minister for power, said in response to a query that there are no plans to privatise any departments.
PUNJAB REJECTS THE PLAN FOR ENERGY CONSERVATION
The federal government’s proposal to save energy in the face of the nation’s financial crisis was rejected by the Punjab administration on Tuesday.
The federal government’s energy conversion plan is unacceptable, according to Mian Muhammad Aslam Iqbal, provincial minister of Punjab for industries, commerce, and investment. If the government was forced to announce such measures, it should have first consulted with all relevant parties and called a Council of Common Interests meeting.