The Auditor General of Pakistan’s (AGP) report for 2019-2020 highlighted one of the most concerning issues that the economy faces; faulty utilisation of over Rs3 trillion, now rendered absolutely useless, by the power sector. This is owing to problems like inefficiency, debt, theft, embezzlement, misappropriation and mass violations of official protocols. Considering our already weak economic standing, such a hefty loss is surely going to set us back decades.

The report detailed AGP’s concerns of whether the power sector can continue functioning the way it does in the status quo where it is plagued with issues that have adopted a certain sense of permanence. The failure to correct any governmental shortcomings, ineffective regulation and control as well as the weak standard of operation of the sector has led to a total of 318 cases of misuse. These pertained to dubious procurement of equipment, violation of internal and external rules, fraud and mismanagement of billions of rupees. Even revenue collection and debt management tasks are taken on with uncertainty and fulfilled through improvisation rather than adherence to a system’s operations. All this puts into question how the power sector was able to cope throughout all these years, especially when its foundations are being proven to be weak and corrupt.

The need for investigation remains unchallenged in the status quo, especially when the country faces immense loss. We must also bear in mind the degree of harm done to the masses since the trillions of rupees lost were part of public funds. As such, accountability is the demand of the hour. We cannot condone such practices when it comes at the cost of the benefit of the masses at large. Additionally, if we fail to take action right now, we threaten our progress entirely.