Mini-budget to upset green energy initiatives, increase pollution, says business leader

ISLAMABAD (INP): Former President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Dr. Shahid Rasheed Butt on Saturday said the approval of certain proposals in the mini-budget will lead to de-solarisation and it will drastically increase environmental pollution which is a negation of the government’s announcements to reduce pollution.
He asked the government to immediately withdraw proposals that if implemented will increase environmental pollution which is already very high in some cities.
In a statement issued here today, Shahid Rashid Butt said that the government has been announcing plans to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix to improve the environment and cut oil import bill but it has planned imposition of 17 percent sales tax on solar equipment in the mini-budget that is a negation of its policies.
He said that taxing the solar sector would reduce the use of solar power, increase smuggling and flood the market with substandard goods which will only hurt the consumers.
Mr. Butt said that along with the solar power sector, taxing wind power, irrigation equipment and waste disposal plants are also being taxed which is amazing.
Solar is the only option for many living in off grid areas, presently 22.72 percent rural households in Baluchistan, 13.2 percent in KP, 9.4 percent in Sindh and 3.3 percent in Punjab uses solar power and tax measures will hit the poor living in off-grid areas.
He noted that the entire world is giving concessions to the renewable energy sector to increase the share of renewables while in Pakistan it is being taxed which will please the IMF and benefit the influential oil mafia. He proposed that instead of taxing the renewable energy sector, other sectors that are tax-free or paying less tax should be targeted to raise funds.
The influence of cigarette manufacturers has increased and they are getting every benefit that should be taxed sparing green energy, he demanded.