Duty, GST waiver on solar panels to help reduce power shortfall

ISLAMABAD (APP): The government’s decision to waive the customs duty and general sales tax on the import of solar panels has received applause from the energy experts viewing that it would help make up the power shortfall in the country. Earlier, the government used to charge five percent customs duty and 17 percent GST on the import of solar panels that has been waived off to promote the use of alternative energy. In his comments, Engineer Khurram Rasheed, an energy expert said that the decision would cast positive impact on the prices of input besides increasing the import of panels by 10 to 20 percent.

He said such a decision would enhance public interest in the solar energy that would ultimately bring down the load-shedding.

Rasheed said currently the solar panels are imported from China owing to the cost-effectiveness of the market.

He said though the energy shortfall could not be addressed within a day or two rather it required long-term remedial measures.

However, the decisions like waving off duty and taxes from solar panels is a positive step in this regard.

He said during his meeting with Bangladeshi counterpart in Khatmandu, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had also discussed the use of solar energy in Bangladesh following which the government decided to provide relief in this regard.

He was of the view that the cost of solar panels could be decreased further if the government also waives off tax and duty on the batteries.

Govt plans to add 16,564MW

in national grid system by 2018

ISLAMABAD (APP): The incumbent government has initiated various projects aimed at coping with the menace of power loadshedding and achieving power generation mix through development of indigenous energy particularly hydel and coal. Official sources told APP here Friday that the government was committed to arranging timely finances for various power projects and monitoring their development regularly in order to complete the projects as per schedule. The government has started various projects based on coal, hydel, gas and solar projects of accumulative capacity of 16,564 MW. These projects would not only bridge power shortfall but also help generate surplus electricity, they said.

These projects included Guddu-I (243 MW), Nandipur Power Project (425 MW), Guddu-2 (243 MW), Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park (Phase I-II (100 MW+300 MW) and Guddu steam 3 and would be completed shortly.

Similarly, Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park (Phase-III) (600 MW) would be ready in 2015 and, Neelum Jhelum Hydel (969 MW), Golen Gol (106 MW) and Patrind HPP would start electricity supply in 2016.

Tabela 4th Extension (1410 MW), and coal plant at Sahiwal would be fully operationalized by 2017 while 1,320 MW each Coal power plants at Jamshoro and Larkana and 6600 MW power from Gaddani Power Park would be added to the national grid system in 2018.

The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) was also producing electricity through three nuclear plants including Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP), Chashma Unit 1 (C-1) and Chashma unit 2 (C-2) while construction of two more Units C-3 and C-4 of 340 MW each is in progress.

The Construction of fourth and fifth nuclear plants, Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit 3 and 4 at Chashma site is ahead of the schedule. The domes on containment buildings of C-3 and C-4 had already placed and would be ready by April 2016 and December 2016 respectively.

PAEC is also implementing nuclear programme 2030 set by Energy Security Plan of the government and ground breaking ceremony of Karachi Coastal Power Project (K-2 and K-3) was held on November 26, 2013.

Pakistan being the fifth largest sugarcane producers in the world has the potential to generate electricity of almost 2,200 MW through Co-Generation.

SBP, IM-Sciences hold Islamic banking meeting

PESHAWAR (Staff Reporter): The IM-Sciences and SBP jointly organised a meeting of the Islamic Banking Focus group through the support of Lincoln Reading Lounge and ORIC of IM-Sciences. Dr Mohsin Khan, Director IM-Sciences, welcomed the participants from State Bank, various Islamic Banks, industry, and academia and shown the institute’s commitment to support the stakeholders in promoting the cause of Islamic Banking. Dr Karim Ullah, the Coordinator Banking and Finance, introduced the agenda points to the participants in the Chairship of Syda Asma Aziz, Senior Deputy Chief Manager, SBP BSC, Peshawar.

 The participants, after a thorough discussion, agreed to enhance awareness of the Islamic banking through collaborative academic degrees, trainings, seminars, and publications.

PEW warns of serious water crisis

ISLAMABAD (inp): The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday said country is being deliberately pushed towards the most serious water crisis of its history. Water scarcity has become a serious issue which is being ignored by all the stakeholders despite knowing that it is the biggest threat to our agriculture and industry, it said.  Dr Murtaza Mughal said that insufficiency of water has started hurting all the sectors including power generation. Some politicians funded by enemy countries continue to oppose construction of dams to bankrupt the country, he added. He said that Government should do something about it before it takes economy and country as hostage paving way unfortunate consequences.

“Scarcity of water is not an internal problem of Pakistan as its repercussions would be felt around the world,” he said.

Mughal said that Pakistan is using ninety per cent of available water for agriculture of which a great part is lost due to primitive systems while 35 million acre-feet water is being wasted to the sea annually.  Local farmers use 100 per cent more water for a crop than Indian counterparts and the ratio is 200 per cent higher as compared to China and 300 per cent higher to developed nations.

Weekly inflation down by 0.54pc

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the week ended on December 11, for the lowest income group up to Rs8,000, registered decrease of 0.54 percent as compared to the previous week. The SPI for the week under review in the above mentioned group was recorded at 203.37 points against 204.47 points registered in the previous week, according to data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The weekly SPI has been computed with base 2007-2008=100, covering 17 urban centers and 53 essential items for all income groups and combined. The SPI for the combined group decreased by 0.40 per cent as it went down from 212.10 points in the previous week to 211.25 points in the week under review.

As compared to the corresponding week of last year, the SPI for the combined group in the week under review decreased by 0.05 percent.

As compared to the last week, the SPI for the income groups from Rs.8001-12,000, Rs.12,001-18,000, Rs.18001-35,000 and above Rs.35,000 decreased by 0.49 percent, 0.45 percent, 0.41 percent and 0.33 percent respectively.

During the week under review average prices of 17 items registered decrease, while that of 07 items increase with the remaining 29 items’ prices unchanged.

The items which registered decrease in their prices during the week under review included potatoes, onions, eggs hen (farm), gur, pulse gram (washed), sugar refined, pulse mash (washed), LPG cylinder(11 kg), bananas, pulse masoor (washed), vegetable ghee, (loose), cooking oil (ten), rice basmati (broken), vegetable ghee (tin), red chilli powder and wheat flour (bag). The items which recorded increase in their average prices included tomatoes, pulse moong (washed), what, chicken farm (live), garlic, kerosene oil and beef with bone.

The items with no change in their average prices during the week under review included bread plain (medium size), mutton, milk fresh, powder milk, mustard oil, salt powder, tea, cooked beef (plate), cooked dal (plate), tea prepared cup, cigarettes, long cloth, shirting, lawn printed, georgette, gents sandal, gents chappal, ladies sandal, electric charges, gas charges, fire wood, electric bulb, washing soap, petrol, hi-speed diesel, telephone local charges and bath soap.