At the inaugural session of the three-day energy conference organized by the petroleum Institute of Pakistan, Prime Minister Yusuf Reza Gilani, while addressing it, announced the formation of a Government-Industry Energy Council (BIEC) with immediate effect. Apart from the very obvious question of why the Council was not formed earlier, since the energy shortage which prompted the holding of the conference as well as the formation of the Council has been around for some time, it seems that the conference has been held in time for the coming summer, when the energy shortage is expected to reach new heights, not just making life well nigh impossible for the ordinary consumer, but makes matters very difficult for the industry that is soldiering on despite the chronic shortages it has faced for so long.
Thus the focus on energy that both the conference and the Council represent are not so delayed rather than timely. However, the government’s realization that it alone cannot concert the measures that are needed to meet the energy crisis, combined with the realization that industry is the most direct economic player affected, reflected both in the list of those invited to the conference as well as in the formation of the Council, should be taken to the next level.In short, the government should listen carefully to the advice it receives, and not just use the conference or the Council as forums where it would issue orders from on high, and try and use them to gain a pre-orchestrated approval for its pet ideas. The government should also keep in mind that the international finance institutions which have insisted on the conditionality of energy price hikes, and have thus wreaked havoc on the national economy. – Nation