Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal declared on Tuesday that the federal and provincial administrations had unanimously resolved to close markets across the country by 8 p.m. as part of an “energy conservation plan.”
The declaration was made by the federal minister to the press during a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, which accepted the expected budget figures.
“The NEC has approved an energy conservation plan under which shops and commercial centres will be closed by 8 p.m.,” he said, stressing that energy has become a major burden for Pakistan as a result of worldwide prices.
“Saudi Arabia has cut down oil production by one million barrels, which poses a risk of oil prices rising to $100 per barrel,” he said, highlighting that if the country continued to rely on fossil fuel and oil for its energy needs, “our economy will remain vulnerable”.
In this regard, the planning minister said, one of the measures that the government wanted to implement pertained to energy conservation.
He pointed out that the federal cabinet had vowed to enforce decisions under a National Energy Conservation Plan last year. “However, there was no representation of provinces in that meeting,” he said.
“But now we hope that provincial governments will ensure the implementation of the energy conservation package that has been approved today,” he added.
Iqbal described the strategy in detail, saying that the steps for energy saving included closing stores and business centres by 8 p.m., converting to LED lights, and renovating geysers to make them more energy efficient. “Such steps could help the country save up to $1 billion annually,” he adds.
Another choice made in the energy industry, according to the minister, was to encourage green energy. “Projects of solar, wind, and hydel energy will be promoted, and we will not introduce any new projects based on imported fuel,” he stated.