LAHORE: Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) Managing Director Tahir Basharat Cheema has said that PEPCO has received less gas supply during the past one week that has been the reason behind the increase in load-shedding in the country.

He was speaking at a seminar with the theme ‘Managing in Turbulent Time The Way Forward’. He admitted that circular debt that at one time reached Rs400 billion also played havoc with power production and management, but hastened to add that this debt has been reduced sharply in recent months. Cheema slammed the rampant electricity theft that has become a norm in the country.

He said more than 65,000 direct connections (Kundas) are visible in Karachi alone but no one dares to remove them because of the protection the illegal connection holders enjoy them from influential quarters. “They are not industrialists but ordinary households,” he added. He said 92 per cent of the electricity consumers do not consider electricity theft as a crime as this practice is now exercised in the culture.

PEPCO MD said that no decision has yet been taken about the increase in power tariff. He said that 3,500MW power would be added to the PEPCO system by the year end that would largely address the load-shedding problem. He said addition of hydro-electric power in coming years would rationalize the hydro-thermal power generation ratio.

Speaking on the occasion Parvaiz A Shahid of Bank Alfalah said that Pakistan’s actual economic potential is larger than many countries of the region, but it has not been properly exploited due to problems of governance and transparency. He said $300 billion belonging to corrupt politicians, dictators and bureaucrats are parked in the developed countries which simply show the extent of the level of loot this country experienced.

He said workers remittances of $7 billion a year are less than half the actual money of $16 billion that comes in the country through illegal channels. He said at $7 billion a year the average remittance of an immigrant worker comes to $100 per month or Rs8,000 per month. He said simple logic tells that no sane person would leave the comfortable life of his native land to send such a meager amount to his loved ones back home.

Chief Strategy Officer of Sybrid Ted Merra said that recession is also an opportunity if prudent measures are instituted to benefit from the demands created by recession. He said nations and companies with prudent policies have gained more strength during recession than during normal growth times. “Recession is a real test of leadership,” he concluded.

Source: The News