*Imran Khan inaugurates 1,320 MW power plant in Pakistan
Addressed a ceremony on the occasion on Monday, Khan said the joint projects under the CPEC were a positive sign, recommending that more coal would be brought from Thar to be utilised for this power plant. “There are 6,000 Pakistani workers associated with the project,” said the prime minister. He further said electricity is being produced from coal in Thar, adding that due to CPEC the country is progressing. The premier added that Pakistan’s biggest issue is corruption which kept investors at bay from financing any projects in the country, adding that the country has been deprived of billions of dollars due to corruption.
The $60 billion CPEC is a key project of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a vast network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes. The multi-billion dollar corridor connects the Chinese city of Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea. Experts recorded that Energy is an integral part of the economic order of Pakistan because energy demand and economic growth share a tight bond. Pakistan is overcoming a severe energy crisis that has directly and indirectly affected all sectors of the economy especially in terms of the evolving energy-mix. The energy side bottlenecks have corroded the economy of the country in the past as well. To fix such congestions and bottlenecks for the smooth delivery of energy services, massive projects with great political optics were incorporated to the supply side in between years 2013-18, adding a cumulative capacity of 12,230 MW. Although the added capacity has helped ease the bottlenecks at generation side, yet the transmission and distribution side congestion and inefficiencies has hampered the sustained delivery of energy services.
Additionally, the higher energy prices in the current times as well as in the near future, are a bi-product of such aggressive capacity additions during 2013-18. Official statistics showed that in term of energy-mix, Pakistan reliance on oil reached 43.5 percent in FY1998 and FY2001. For the FY2018, oil reliance has reduced to 31.2 percent. Similarly, hydro had a 13.1 percent share in FY1998, which is standing at 7.7 percent in 2017-18. Though the declining share of oil is a welcoming sign due to fewer burdens on the national exchequer, the diminishing share of hydro represents the shortsightedness of policy as well as the inability of successive governments to undertake such capital-intensive projects in a timely manner.