KARACHI: The import of generators has been on the rise mainly due to persistent gas load-shedding in Punjab and falling prices of diesel.
The increase is largely driven by industrial generators as demand for residential power machines has fallen.
The overall generator imports rose by 20.4pc to $775 million during the first seven months (July-January) of this fiscal year compared to $643m in the same period a year earlier, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
The import of generators rose by 12pc to $1.07 billion in 2013-14 from $958.6m in 2012-13.
Punjab, which has been hit hard by gas shortage, holds 60-70 per cent share in total arrival and consumption of foreign generators.
Pakistan Machinery Merchants Group (PMMG) President Khurram Saigol said Punjab industrialists were importing over 20 kVA (kilo volt amps) diesel generators in large numbers. They were also purchasing second-hand imported diesel generators.
A reduction of more than Rs28 per litre in diesel price from September 2014 till February 2015 must have lured industrialists as it has curtailed operating cost of diesel generators.
He said that further price cut in diesel may push up import of diesel generators as industrial units no more rely only on gas now.
On the contrary, over 90pc people prefer running their residential/portable generators on natural gas. However, the shortfall in gas supply has affected their demand as citizens could not afford operating their generators on petrol, he said. “Despite sharp reduction in petrol price, gas is still economical,” Saigol said.
Falling buying power of consumers is another reason behind low demand for portable generators, despite availability of cheap Chinese brands in the market.
The government has been claiming big improvement in power supply, but for consumers the ground reality was the same as it was before.
Buying season of generators normally starts from April and ends in July. The PMMG’s president said that importers are so far undecided whether to raise future import orders or wait for the materialisation of power projects announced by the government. Power outages in summers will further decide the trend of generators sales and imports, he added.
“As long as load-shedding exists, the government should announce some relaxation in taxes and duties on import of generators to provide relief to the consumers,” he said.
He said a sizeable quantity of residential generators from one to six kVA was finding way in the markets through Afghan Transit Trade (ATT).
Published in Dawn February 22nd , 2015