KARACHI: The import of power generating machines is thriving with fading hopes of an early end to persistent long power outages across the country especially in the rural areas.
The province of Punjab is already in the grip of violent power riots whereas the situation in Karachi, the economic hub of the country, is comparatively better.
Traders said around 70-80 per cent of imported generators were finding their way to the heavily-populated Punjab province.
According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) the import of power generating machines rose to $72 million in May 2012 as compared to $50.58 million in April 2012, while it was just $54 million in May 2011.
Total import bill of generators for the July-May 2011-2012 period rose to $951 million as compared to $919 million in the corresponding period of last fiscal year.
Pakistan Machinery Merchants Group President Khurram Saigol told Dawn that imports may remain high till mid of July and much would depend on the duration of power load-shedding, however when monsoon season gets underway importers go slow down.
He hoped that the load-shedding hours may come down by two to four hours especially in Punjab as a result of short-term measure following directive of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to resolve the energy crisis, but in the long-run the power outages will exist.
He said the sale of generators in Karachi was quite dull as compared to Punjab where the intensity of load-shedding was more severe.
He said only those traders of Karachi were doing a roaring business who were diverting their bulk of generators imports to Punjab and some other parts of the country. Khurram said buyers were taking costly ride despite increase in prices of generators on account of over eight per cent devaluation of the rupee against the dollar in the current fiscal year.
“Bulk of power generating machines is arriving from China followed by US, Japan, UK etc.,” he added.
He said he had urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to remove the 16 per cent sales tax on import of portable generators so that the prices could come down. “This will benefit the small household and cottage industry people especially during upcoming Ramazan,” he added.