LAHORE - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged the Punjab government on Saturday to allocate maximum funds for electricity generation though coal in the upcoming budget, as 12 to 14 hours of power outages have crippled Pakistan’s economy.
LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh suggested that the government utilise coal to generate cheaper electricity that would cost only Rs 8 to Rs 8.50 per unit against thermal electricity that costs more than Rs 16 per unit.
He said it was unfortunate that currently Pakistan was producing only one percent of its total electricity through coal when neighbouring India was making around 70 percent of its total electricity by coal, China was generating 80 percent, South Africa 93 percent, Poland 92 percent, Australia 77 percent, Kazakhstan 70 percent and US 49 percent. The LCCI president said the province could become a hub of economic activities and its progress would be exemplary if the Punjab government came up with a comprehensive coal policy in its budget. “The budget document will be more meaningful and result-oriented if the Punjab government successfully satiates the energy needs of the trade and industry in the province that was hit hard by the energy crisis,” he added.
Large discoveries of oil and gas reserves resulted in a massive switchover from coal to furnace oil and gas, however, once again there is a shift back to using coal as a major source of energy, he maintained.