The PML-N’s three Es

  • By Dr Pervez Tahir

    Upon my return from Cambridge, it seemed to me that after water-powered motoring, our inventiveness had gone beyond 3D technology to the three Es. That it was a catchphrase for a party-political platform was disappointing; the perfunctory content more so. The party chief’s rather charged statement is the only source of information. The website is silent. The first ‘E’ is for energy — doubtlessly, our number one problem — which a strong military government and a dithering political government have failed to tackle in the past 12 years. Economy, the second E, is also in a shambles but critically related to the ‘E’ for energy. So the two Es are essentially one. Like always, education is a poor third in the ordering of the Es.

    Take the ‘E’ for energy first. The PML-N in power will settle circular debt in six months and ensure uninterrupted power supply within two years. The issue of circular debt is not simply a question of somehow arranging a large one-time payment to the suppliers of fuel to thermal units, which are the main source of power generation. Over a trillion rupees paid in the past four years have not resolved it. It is a stock as well as flow issue. The flow issue lingers on because even after being doubled, the electricity tariff is less than the cost by about Rs3 per kilowatt hour. Failure to fully recover revenue — mainly from public authorities — and prevent theft in the private sector complicates the problem. Losses because of inefficient generation and distribution are in addition. Will the PML-N end the subsidy involved and borrow to pay up? Will it double the tax revenue in six months? Or, is there a magic wand to reduce the cost of producing electricity in the aging system? Getting rid of the circular debt does not add enough power to end loadshedding. No major hydroelectric project in the pipeline is likely to be on stream before 2016. In two years, small additions from the ongoing projects of Mangla, Satpara and Gomal Zam are expected. New IPPs based on imported coal are likely to take longer than two years to produce. A more effective conservation and efficiency plan is a possibility but it is not enough. Rental power may not be to the taste of the PML-N. So, what does it have up its sleeves? And, where is a concrete plan to end gas loadshedding?

    ‘E’ for economy sees Pakistan in world’s top 10 economies through a package for industrialists and interest-free loans for the youth. Mercifully, no time frame was given to achieve this aim. According to the IMF data for 2011, in nominal terms, the difference between the GDP per capita of the Netherlands — the tenth best performing economy — and Pakistan was $49,134. Pakistan’s ranking was 148. Assuming best possible economic management and double-digit growth for Pakistan and zero growth for the Netherlands, eight five-year terms are required to bridge this gap.

    Finally, education, the third E, was mentioned only in passing. The top 10 countries of the world place education above energy and economy. Their productivity varies with the quality and coverage of education.

    In general, party manifestos are statements of intent. One does not expect solutions worked out in all their details. But the experience in Pakistan is that the manifestos are put aside as soon as a party assumes power. The people would like to know more — actually, a lot more, as to how a promise will materialise. The PPP’s five Es and the MMA’s claims are still fresh in memory. The PML-N itself hardly consulted its 2008 manifesto while spending billions in Punjab.

    Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2012.


    See below for some great challenges to Dr Tahir's assessment by PMLN supporters....most of them focusing on PTI :)

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  • 3 E's of Noo0ra League

    Endro Endro Eat'ey Jao :P

  • I will sincerely appreciate if Dr. Tahir provides the solution too instead of just focusing on the problem. The better way will be to come up will an alternative plan and then argue on the basis of that. Just saying that it is a bad plan is not enough. BTW why Dr. Tahir need to mention that he just came back from Cambridge. Without mentioning that, I guess, will not lessen his credibility.

  • Two years are still realistic than the 100 days period given by IK.

  • this doctor is probably a dangr doctor.

    PMLN has always argued that Pakistan is in the current state because bad governance and corruption. All that can end in a very short time if the government is committed. For example, at the moment there is a lot of tax evasion and electricity theft going on by major consumers that are protected by the federal government. Even Pakistan's current aging electric system is capable of meeting the demand if there was no circular debt and processes were made more efficient.

    Isn't it the case that when there was extreme rioting on electricity, this government completely stopped load shedding for a while by releasing funds to temporarily reduce the circular debt?

  • @slep

    So just because you don't agree with him...he is a "dangr"

    very troll-like behaviour there :)

  • @sandman

    Also, biggest defaulter of lesco, caught from head to toe in corruption scandals, will curtail electricity heft and corruption! Which btw, they have failed to do that in their last 5 years of government.

  • Punjab the only province with 98.5% recovery of electricity bills

    absolutely 3e's are requirement of time

    PML N has the team to do this

    and i am sure they will.

  • @InsaafIK

    Bro...interestingly enough, punjab govt website actually states that after 18th amendment, they are responsible for energy generation.

    Following the 18th amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan, the provinces are now vested with full authority to develop power projects of any capacity through public or private sector and establish required regulatory framework


    So one of the Es should not be a problem, as obviously the brains at PMLN have already resolved this problem for Punjab...or am I missing something? :)

  • And the first step towards eradication of corruption and financial mismanagement would be for the PML-N government to completely takeover SKMH, disband its Board, kick out the cronies and its chairman.

  • brother

    you should read the 18th amendment cluse relating to energy

    every province is still dependent on federal government to generate energy

    even the historic decision made by the honourable court that Chicho k maliya and nadi pure power generation (projects of Punjab government ) was intentionally danged by the law Minister Baber Awan.

    Punjab Government has started many energy genration project. One is in gujrat the federal govt throwing stones in the road by not giving permeation as law ,interior ,water and power ministers are involved

    any project if any province want to do

    they require legislation of interior, law and water and power minister's

    that is accordance with 18 the amendment.

  • "every province is still dependent on federal government to generate energy"

    this statement does not gel with the statement on Punjab govt's own website:

    Following the 18th amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan, the provinces are now vested with full authority to develop power projects of any capacity

    read again...full authority


  • Wasting time Mauzzam Bhai....the mureeds of Zakat Chor Khan only understand the language and power of Chitrol. Forceful the chitrol - the better understanding they inculcate.

  • 19 April 2010 was the date of 18th amendment.

    do any one of you know which clause give right of generation of power to province with conditions in 18 th amendment.


  • Ah, here we go again with the virtual chirtol...its so cute that you PMLN uncles think that it actually works


  • do any one of you know which clause give right of generation of power to province with conditions in 18 th amendment.


    I dont need to read the clauses bhai, I'm just reading the PUNJAB GOVT WEBSITE :)

  • sandman bhea

    i am giving you the time just tell me the clause otherwise i will tell you in the language of law.

    i hope ap


  • bhea ap ka bi musharraf wala hal ha

    Musharraf said i do not respect this paper of constitution it is nothing more than a paper

    have you read the projects of punjab govt on the website

    i pray our nation utilize the education

    here we talk about 18 th ammendemt

    but we do not know the cluse of 18th

    really shame but no shame for sandman as he is the member of PTI which never get shameful even after handshake with talli

  • forget clauses bhai....just read the PUNJAB GOVT WEBSITE

    they are saying they have full authority??