INTERVIEW WITH MUHAMMAD ATIQ MIR, CHAIRMAN ALL KARACHI TAJIR ITEHAD

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Oct 24 - 30, 20
11

PAGE: TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF.

ATIQ MIR: I am chairman All Karachi Tajir Itehad, which is an alliance of more than 300 markets of Karachi. For last 22 years, I have been involved in the activities of various traders' associations, which work for the rights of traders of Pakistan.

PAGE: WHAT ARE YOUR COMMENTS ON THE ENERGY CRISIS?

ATIQ MIR: According to my opinion, Pakistan has been facing energy crisis for more than 20 years but from last five years the situation has become worst. The per year increase in the demand of electricity is 8.7 per cent whereas the electricity generation is increasing not even by a single percent and the line losses have increased to the dangerous extent. During last five years, no steps have been taken by the government for the solution of these problems. Some people in the government have given priority to the private power companies for their personal benefits, and as a result, it gave rise to monopoly and today electricity consumers have become hostages of these companies.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ABOUT ECONOMIC GROWTH AND THE AVAILABILITY OF ENERGY.

ATIQ MIR: The first and the most important thing which is effected by energy crisis is the economy & due to the economic crisis the investors give preference to invest in foreign countries for development of new projects instead of making investments in Pakistan and due to this the small industries are severely effected. Energy crisis is giving about 30 to 40 percent loss to the economy. Further, I would say that there is a strong link between the political stability and the availability of energy resources. Majority of the protests against the government are based on the energy crisis, which is not only decreasing the government's popularity but is also increasing the hatred in the hearts of people against the government. PAGE: WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON WAPDA AND KESC?

ATIQ MIR: Some important things I should mention here are fuel adjustment charges, subsidy, and increase in electricity prices which are actually the basis of corruption in the bureaucracy and the power supply companies. These private companies file petition whenever they want by manipulating the fuel adjustment charges with Nepra and thus consumers are severely effected. The power supply companies deal the consumers so unfairly that if KESC or other companies generate electricity using gas, they charge the consumers as if they've used oil for electricity generation.

PAGE: YOUR SUGGESTIONS ABOUT ALTERNATIVE ENERGY RESOURCES.

ATIQ MIR: Though there are several alternatives to solve the problems related to energy crisis, all the private energy supplying companies are not willing to resolve the problems because for last few years these companies have formed monopoly in the power sector. Government should now wind up the limited and particular private power distributing companies and allow the people to form their private small power projects in order to generate power according to an open power policy.

PAGE: ENERGY CRISIS DESTROYS AT LEAST 50 PER CENT OF THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR LEADING TO INCREASE IN THE RATE OF UNEMPLOYMENT. YOUR VIEWS.

ATIQ MIR: It badly affects the fixed income group because cost of goods and services increase. I think unemployment, industrial crisis and trade losses affect the roots of the economy due to which our country instead of moving forward is becoming backward and moving towards the phase of recession. Another horrible situation, which is being faced today, due to unemployment, is the increase in the ratio of poverty and crime.