Welcome To The Stone Age
It seems as if Pakistan is officially on road to wining the race to stone age. The latest crises hitting Islamabad is the outrageous load shedding. Scheduled and unscheduled power outages for long hours have forced every business and household to suffer. Can anyone imagine that in an age of the so called “economic prosperity” with “highest GDP” in the region we have a shortage of 3000 megawatts. The government has failed to come up with any notable power projects in the past eight years. But who do we have to complain to when we have rulers who are not answerable to their people for their incapability as opposed to an elected government representatives. Pakistan requires around 11,000 megawatts per day, while the per day availability is around 8,000 megawatts. The officials said that the shortfall might increase to 5,000 megawatts during the upcoming summer.
Let me get you through a scenario. In a typical day for a working professional in Islamabad the office electricity is shut down for one hour in the morning, and one hour in the evening. Unfortunately, for those who do not have generators, the problem is two folds. So “unofficially” we are having a maximum 6 hour workday in the Capital. For people who are working in the IT industry for global clients, this is unacceptable. Ten minutes before the shutdown, everyone shuts off their computers, and “waits” for the electric supply breakdown. Imagine how much work suffers in whole of the industrial sector with losses amounting to millions of dollars due to unpredictable electric supply. I am wondering, amidst these sorts of conditions, if any sane businessman would really want to outsource their businesses to Pakistan in the first place.
Those who have fallen into the trap already, are looking for better options elsewhere in the region. It’s increasingly becoming a highly non competitive business environment, which lacks even the basic facilities to support sustainable business ventures. If you are living in a sector that houses some important minister, or a retired general chances are your street will have an uninterrupted electric supply. If you own a multi million dollar business, and pay millions in tax, don’t expect any government support to make things just a little easier for your life. WAPDA is officially doing five to seven hours of load shedding per day in the rural areas, while four to six hours of load shedding is being done in cities. Unofficially, there is no limit…
If you go out shopping into the markets in the evening, there is hardly any electricity around. As you move from sector to sector, and you are caught in the middle of a bad loop, it might eventually turn out that electricity shuts down at the Markaz that you approach.So you are caught in a perpetual cycle of dark because load shedding is done in different intervals at different sectors, usually following one after another. I talked to the shopkeepers and most say their sale has suffered on an average of at least 20-30%. It’s sad to see the feeling helplessness on their faces….But how much better could we have expected in 2008?