Electricity import from India a priority for Nawaz - thenews.com.pk ISLAMABAD: The Nawaz Sharif government will seriously consider importing 1,000MW electricity from India as part of its short to medium term strategy to end loadshedding. On an immediate basis, different options are under consideration at different levels, and the PML-N will present a roadmap for eliminating the circular debt. According to the option number one, the government will have to either hike its budget deficit by a few percentage points for diverting additional resources towards controlling the losses of power sector or as a second option divert major resources from the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) to energy crisis. â€œThe task force on energy has presented its recommendations in which the upcoming minister and his team have been advised to end the circular debt at all costs,â€ former finance minister Shaukat Tarin, who is also a member of this task force, told The News on Monday. Showing his reluctance to share the details of any further recommendations, he said the budget deficit might go up, but the upcoming government would have to take steps for strengthening the energy sector that had literally choked all the economic activities. However, sources in the economic ministries confirmed to this reporter that import of electricity from India as well as from Iran and Central Asian Republics (CARs) was feasible. It is also a pre-requisite for reviving the shattered growth prospects in the future. When an Islamabad-based top official of the World Bank was asked if the bank had conducted any feasibility for exploring the import of electricity from India, he replied: â€œYesâ€ and added that 1,000MWs could be imported from India within the next two years. The lingering energy crisis has severely damaged GDP growth in the last five years of PPP-led regime and average GDP growth stood at 2.5 percent of GDP on per annum basis. The Planning Commission, which is preparing the salient features of next five-year plan, has estimated that the GDP growth could touch the 7 percent mark in next five years because huge untapped potential existed in this economy. Citing examples, the official said, the countryâ€™s industry was running at 50 percent capacity and if power situation improved and industry achieved the level of its operation in the range of 70 percent, the countryâ€™s economic activities would be restored and GDP would be pushed up by 1 to 2 percent on per annum basis. Governance reforms in the power sector will also play a key role in ending corruption and leakages and improving the energy supply. The auction of Third Generation (3G) technology will also boost economic activities by improving growth rate in the range of 2 to 3 percentage points over the medium term. According to the WB officials, the electricity trade between Pakistan and India will be completed in next two years including conducting feasibility studies and pricing as well as placing transmission line to make it a reality. India and Pakistan are working on energy cooperation, as there is no regional energy sharing mechanism in this region and it is the only way forward to end crisis. Pakistan had formally requested the World Bank (WB) for multimillion dollar assistance for importing 500 MW electricity from India. Considering watershed developments between India and Pakistan, the WB official said Pakistanâ€™s industrial load shedding resulted into loss of 400,000 jobs. Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia which is surplus in electricity and all other countries are energy deficit but there is no energy trade scheme.Pakistan and Afghanistan can import electricity from Central Asian states for lowering down power shortages. Feasibility studies have confirmed technical and economic viability of exporting summer time electricity surpluses from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan from existing power plants to relieve power shortages in Pakistan and Afghanistan. â€œTrade in energy is negligible,â€ said the sources and cited an example that Afghanistan and Nepal could produce 100,000 MW hydropower which could be used to alleviate the crippling energy shortages in the region.