THIS is with reference to the ongoing drive by the government to cut down unnecessary expenditure and save energy costs. Not that I am a soothsayer, but quite a few years ago, I had an inkling that we were heading towards an economic disaster, signs of which were very apparent for any layman to visualise.

I had written quite a few times on the subject, spelling out my apprehensions. But, then, a common citizen’s views are not given much consideration by those at the helm of affairs.

It is only when the shoe really hurts the people at the helm that stopgap arrangements are initiated to overcome such frequent crises.

There is a long list of ways whereby savings could have been made in these hard times; all related to energy. But, alas, the stakeholders were then too busy mudslinging against each other, which they still continue, rather than concentrating and utilising their energies for some productive activity.

However, it is good to hear that the government is now undertaking measures to overcome the shortfall in the energy sector.

It is encouraging the use of solar energy by giving incentives by way of abolishing/reducing taxes on solar panels.

Another good proposal is to use daylight by adjusting business hours in markets in order to cut down power utilisation. It is further understood that working hours at offices will be reduced once the working week is reduced to, say, four days.

It is also under consideration to encourage public transport. New and busy routes have been identified and designated where additional buses would be run so that fuel import cost can be reduced, which takes a big chunk of our reserves.

I hope these initiatives are sincerely implemented/executed at all levels and the public at large extends support and cooperation to overcome the precarious economic conditions, especially in the power and energy sector.

A lot of spadework and information dissemination also need to be done to bring the hard realities to the knowledge of the people so that they may understand the gravity of the situation. Lastly, I hope the initiatives do not get stuck up in political wrangling.

Muhammad K. Sufi
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022

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