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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
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EditorialFighting energy woes

Fighting energy woes

Given the severe economic position, as stated by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the best hope is to develop measures that assist the government in cutting spending. In this regard, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has proposed the conversion of all government buildings to solar power by April of next year, as well as the causes for the national economy’s poor state and potential remedies. The Federal Ministry of Petroleum has reported the discovery of substantial oil and gas reserves in Dera Ismail Khan. These reserves can produce up to 39.12 million cubic feet of gas and 1,840 barrels of oil per day. Deposits of this type have already been discovered in Sindh and other areas. Finding and developing new supplies will help reduce reliance on imported oil and gas, save important foreign cash, and lower the trade deficit, which is rapidly expanding.

Pakistan is endowed with abundant natural resources. Aside from oil and gas, there are several liquid and non-liquid mineral resources, such as gold, copper, coal, iron, and salt. Mineral reserves have also been discovered in Balochistan, Sindh, and other locations that can be used, and there are potential to find more, but they are not being completely exploited due to inadequate economic planning and political upheaval.

Many minerals are discovered in the hilly parts of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan, in addition to Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Energy is vital to the country’s economy. With the rise in oil, gas, and electricity rates, everything has become more expensive, and the poor and middle classes are struggling to make ends meet. One of the primary causes for our weak economic growth is the high cost of producing electricity. As a result, experts have long emphasised the importance of encouraging the use of renewable energy, particularly solar energy, throughout the country. The country is experiencing economic difficulties as a result of the high cost of imported fuel. Global oil prices have risen as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. A dilemma has also emerged, with rich countries purchasing gas at excessive prices, forcing developing countries to do the same. During the previous fiscal year, the country had to import fuel worth $27 billion dollars, which was a significant difficulty. The total revolving debt has also surpassed Rs2.5 trillion. The cause for this scenario is that no energy sector reforms have been implemented in the last 30 years, while the government committed criminal negligence by failing to purchase cheap oil and gas during the Corona pandemic when prices were extremely low. Previously, a few measures were taken in this regard, the most notable of which is the encouragement of private use of solar energy. In this scheme, all people of the country were given the opportunity to generate their own electricity using solar panels, and if they generated more than they needed, they could sell it to the national grid and earn money. However, no major progress on this project was accomplished in the prior period. Apart from converting government buildings to solar energy, all practical steps should be implemented as soon as possible to stimulate private use of solar electricity. Banks should make easy loans available for this reason. With a Rs500,000 solar system, a typical household can satisfy its daily electricity needs and, over time, can acquire more electricity by increasing the capacity of the panels. People with more disposable income can generate excess electricity and sell it to the National Grid for a fee. If the government offers assistance and infrastructure, converting a house, store, office, school, mosque, or factory to a solar system takes only a few days. As a result, millions of buildings around the country can be converted to solar systems by next April. Thus, the energy crisis can be overcome in a very short period of time, removing a key impediment to the economy’s recovery.

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