Dr. Najam Speaks on Pakistan’s Strategic Energy Challenges

Lahore: Prof. Adil Najam, Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), chaired the closing session and presented the closing address at a seminar on ‘Pakistan’s Energy Challenges’ organised as part of the 96th National Management Course for senior civil servants by the National School of Public Policy. Held on May 2, 2012, the day-long seminar was attended by senior officers of the Federal and Provincial civil services to understand formulation and implementation of public policy, with a view to prepare them for assignments at national policy level.

The seminar was addressed by leading policy experts from Pakistan, including Mr. Jahangir Tareen, Dr. Shaukat Hameed, Mr. Tariq Hameed, Mr. Munawar Baseer and Dr. Adil Najam.

Dr. Adil Najam is a leading global expert on climate change and sustainable development and in this connection has published extensively on global energy policy issue, including on developing country energy issues.

The LUMS Vice Chancellor chaired the final session on ‘The Way Forward’ and then presented the closing address to the seminar focusing on the larger global and local challenges facing Pakistan’s energy sector.

In his remarks, Dr. Najam argued that Pakistan was facing two related but separate crises – a Power (generation) crisis and an Energy crisis. He argued that the first was a crisis of governance and policy choices much more than a technical issue and could only be responded to by governance and policy measures.

He said that issues like circular debt, privatization, IPPs, rental power, etc. are essentially governance challenges that need governance solution. Relatedly but separately, Pakistan is also facing a set of energy challenges that are truly long-term and relate to energy mix for the future, investment choices, research investments, and long-term energy decisions.

Dr. Adil Najam suggested that while the rest of the world was engaged in vigorous debates and intense discussion on the latter, Pakistan was stuck in the quagmire of the first crisis. Unfortunately, the latter cannot be tackled until the first is addressed.

The LUMS Vice Chancellor cautioned that ‘sitting out’ of the later debate will cost Pakistan dearly and we must fully engage in the real global energy discussions, even as we try to sort out our ‘messed up’ power generation issues.

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