‘One past mistake plunged us in to darkness’-Zubair

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Sindh Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Zubair Motiwala BOI held planners responsible for the power crisis being faced by the country.
He was speaking as the keynote speaker at the 28th Multi Topic International Symposium organised by the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Pakistan (IEEEP) Karachi chapter here on Wednesday.
Zubair, while presenting statistics, said that Pakistan was blessed with abundant coal reserves but power generation in Pakistan relied very heavily on oil and gas. He said during his tenure his entire emphasis was to change the trend of the country’s reliance on oil and to introduce coal as the primary source of power generation.
He said the coal found in Thar was as good as that available in Australia and India. While both these two countries were producing power through coal, Pakistan had been increasing our reliance on oil which was a more expensive way of generating power, he added.
He claimed that because of the use of gas in power generation and CNG, there was scarcity of gas supply to industries, thus creating unemployment. He said a million jobs could be created if industry was provided with the required infrastructure.
Furthermore, Zubair alleged that they had previously made a mistake by rejecting a Chinese bid placed for cheap provision of electricity and now the country was willing to pay much more and were offering the most lucrative incentives, but that one bad decision had been keeping investors away.
He said that during Musharraf’s rule, Iran gas was available at a much less rate, but Musharraf rejected the offer back then. Now we have reached an agreement for the same resource with the same country at many times the price we were offered at that time, he added. “Indecision and wrong planning have deterred our progress,” he maintained.
He also said that the youth were an asset as well as a danger. “If you do not use the youth intelligently, they will use you,” he observed.
Moreover, he said that though it was too late now, but things were moving in the right direction and finally sovereign guarantees have been made available while work was continuing on Thar coal with a promise of future power generation through coal.
IEEEP President Engineer Tahir Basharat Cheema, who was also the chief guest on the occasion, agreed with the observations. He hoped the future would be bright especially in the face of recent reforms that have given the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). He congratulated IEEEP for holding this international event since the last 28 years.
The symposium would have four technical sessions in the course of two days, including presentation of technical papers by students who won the first three positions in the students’ seminar held earlier. An interesting panel discussion on “Countrywide electricity Blackouts…What Engineers can do” will wrap up the seminar on Thursday (today).
Panelists included former PEPCO and SSGCL managing director Engineer Munawar Baseer Ahmed, Engineer Roland Desouza Principal EE Fahim Nanji and Desouza (Pvt) Limited, Engineer Tahir Bashir Cheema, Engineer Arshad Raza and Engineer Khalid Jamil.