The cash-strapped Pakistani government is examining the possibility of saving energy by reducing the number of working days, a move it hopes to save an estimated $ 2.7 billion in foreign exchange, a media report said today.
Estimates of the ব্যা 1.5 billion to $ 2.7 billion in foreign exchange savings made by the State Bank of Pakistan are based on three different scenarios in terms of working days and energy conservation, the Dawn newspaper reported.
In the first 10 months of the current fiscal year (FY22) (July-April), Pakistan’s total oil imports exceeded 17 17 billion, a huge increase of 96 percent over the same period last year, the report said.
That includes imports of .5 8.5 billion worth of petroleum products and 2 4.2 billion worth of petroleum crude, which jumped 121 percent and 75 percent, respectively, it said.
A senior government official said the concerned authorities, power and petroleum departments have been advised to come up with their estimates, including power conservation, to take up the matter as a whole with cost-benefit analysis of different sectors before reaching a decision.
He said the central bank’s estimates cover the use of petroleum products on most of the week’s normal working days, including retail and government offices and educational institutions, which in any case would be a summer vacation.
However, it did not consider LNG imports, which mostly go to the power sector.
In the first 10 months of the current financial year, LNG imports stood at $ 3.7 billion, an increase of 83 percent, although imports were lower.
These estimates suggest that additional petroleum-related use for one more working day a week would cost the nation approximately $ 642 million in travel, excluding freight and transportation.
Conversely, low costs with less workdays per week provide about $ 2.1 billion in annual savings.
All savings numbers are taken into account for the net reduction in oil imports, but subsidies on petroleum products can also reduce PKR 3.5 billion per day.
In the first case, the average petroleum savings is estimated at $ 122 million per month or $ 1.5 billion per year, on the basis of four working days and three holidays where retail is open for weeks.
Note that 90 percent of oil consumption is assumed for working days and the remaining 10 percent for holidays.
In the second scenario, based on four working days, two holidays and one day of lockdown (retail sales will be closed for one day), savings in the form of reduced oil imports are estimated at $ 175 million per month or $ 2.1 billion per year.
In the third scenario, savings on petroleum-linked import bills could be about 0 230 million, or about 7 2.7 billion, on a four-day, one-day, and two-day lockdown, he said. However, this case is considered very harsh because it can negatively affect the confidence of the people.
Officials say the power department has advised the new government to reduce working days and limit commercial activity to daylight as soon as it takes office, and to launch a national energy conservation campaign across the energy consumption sector with more than 5,000 MW of energy savings.
The report further said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had chosen to extend the working day from five to six days a week which was an additional burden in the form of high electricity and petroleum costs.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)