Pakistan, US to enhance cooperation in energy sector


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and United States on Tuesday agreed to enhance cooperation in energy sector with special focus on development of bio-gas and wind energy to help Pakistan overcome power crisis.

Pakistan needs investment, particularly in the most needed energy sector, said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar while addressing a joint press conference along with President Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Elizabeth L. Littlefield, who was heading the US delegation in talks with Pakistan.

Earlier, US delegation held detailed discussions with Pakistan’s economic and energy managers led by the finance minister and discussed various issues related to investment in various sectors of economy, particularly in energy sector.

Dar told media representatives that talks with the Opic were the part of government’s efforts to bring foreign investment into the country and help enhance economic growth.

He said that both the countries agreed in principle to continue dialogue on Civil Nuclear Technology cooperation. However, he added that no timeline could be given for any future agreement on the issue.

The finance minister said that Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have capability to generate more electricity and the government has paid circular debt to enhance generation capacity.

He said both the sides also agreed to continue dialogue on the pending issues of Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) to tap the investment potential.

Terming the terrorism as one of the challenges the country was facing, Ishaq Dar said the government was committed to come up with a comprehensive strategy by taking onboard all political parties to overcome this menace.

He said that ensuring transparency and good governance were among the top priorities of the government.

Earlier, the minister informed the US delegation about the successful passage of federal budget 2013-14.

He said the government, this year, has enhanced the allocations for Public Sector Development Programme to Rs1.155 trillion besides enhancing the allocations of Income Support Programme from Rs40 billion to Rs70 billion.

Dar urged the Opic to bring into investment of private companies in Pakistan’s energy sector. He assured the US delegation that Pakistan was a safe as well as lucrative country for investment and provides a conducive atmosphere for foreign investors.

Addressing the press conference, Elizabeth Littlefield said the investment through Opic into Pakistan has increased from $80 million to $300 million, witnessing manifold increase during past couple of years.

She said that Pakistan was facing some challenges. She, however, expressed the optimism that the new government would overcome all these challenges and lead the country towards better future.

Littlefield said her country will enhance cooperation with Pakistan in power generation through wind and bio-gas, besides enhancing technical cooperation to increase power generation through alternative ways.

She said that the US companies have already been involved in development of energy sector of Pakistan as a 50 megawatt electricity project by an American firm was continuing in Sindh province.

Earlier, while briefing the finance minister and his delegation about the operations of the Opic, she said the corporation mobilises private capital to help solve critical development challenges.

The Opic works with the US private sector and helps businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalysing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad.

The corporation achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, she added.

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