Energy crisis main constraint in growth
ISLAMABAD, May 31: The Economic Survey for 2011-12 concedes that energy outage was the dominant constraint on the overall growth and the estimated cost of the power crisis to the economy is approximately Rs380 billion a year, around two per cent of the GDP.
“I acknowledge that government’s performance in the energy sector is not up to the mark,” Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Shaikh said in a guarded tone at the launch of the survey on Thursday. He agreed that the excessive loadshedding had left the people angry and hurt.
“It does not mean that those who are on the roads protesting and demonstrating against the loadshedding feel more pain for the nation. We all are weeping,” the minister said. He recalled that the federal government had paid a whopping amount of Rs1,200 billion to ameliorate the circular debt situation over the past four years.
Electricity and gas shortages are considered to be the primary cause of production constraints in a number of industries as energy intensive industries like petroleum, iron, steel and engineering shaved off 0.2 per cent points from real GDP growth both in 2010-11 and 2011-12, the survey said.
The liquidity crunch in the power sector not only resulted in under utilisation of installed capacity of up to 4,000MW, but also affected investment, it said.