ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday asked the government to review policy of providing natural gas to inefficient captive power plants that have wasted gas worth Rs 350 billion in last five years. Gas companies continue to provide fuel to the primitive plants while avoiding stress on improving the efficiency which will reduce wastage currently estimated over 70 per cent, it said.

Captive power plants are getting gas in return of political favours which is causing an yearly loss of minimum Rs 70 billion, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. Those who have been using scrap plants should be taken to task while the Supreme Court should look into the details of such a policy framed to promote personal interests, he said.

He lauded the admission by Secretaries of Water and Power, Textile, and officials of Planning Commission and Minister of Finance in the Senate Standing Committee on Textiles that the decision to provide gas to inefficient captive power plants was taken on highest level.

The Planning Commission and Ministry of Water and Power have already termed captive power plants drain national resources, he added.

Dr Murtaza Mughal said that statements of crackdown against wasteful power plants by ministry of petroleum and heads of gas utilities have so far proved eyewash. He said that former government pleased owners of captive power plants on the cost of domestic consumers, CNG, fertilizer and general industry. The country would not have faced acute energy shortages if decisions were taken on merit and the gas was provided to efficient power houses, he said.