BEIJING: Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Monday lauded the Chinese government for cooperation in addressing the chronic energy problem of Pakistan, saying Beijing had always extended helping hand to Islamabad at time of need.
Addressing a dinner reception here that was largely participated by top Chinese companies working in various energy and infrastructure sectors in Pakistan and those who showed keen interest for further investment earlier in day while holding meetings with him, Khawaja Asif said the present power crisis the Pakistan faced with was due to negligence by the previous regimes, which were at the helm of affairs for over past ten years.
He said the present government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accorded top priority to addressing the energy crisis.
He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his visit to China in July last year discussed a number of energy projects with the Chinese leadership and also signed eight agreements, including all important Pakistan-China Economic Corridor.
He lauded the Chinese companies for their allout cooperation in solving the energy crisis and said their help would go a long way in generating economic activities in the country.
The Federal Minister said if the problem of energy was addressed, the country economy would grow and at the same time it would also generate jobs for youths.
He expressed the determination that with the cooperation of China, “we would be able to solve our energy crises soon”.
He said the present government had embarked on a number of ambitious energy plans in solar, wind, hydel power and coal. The government, he said, was going to set up ten 660 MW capacity each coal power generating plants in Gaddani Power Park.
He said that besides coal power plants, the government was also paying attention for generating hydal power. In this regards he mentioned the importance of construction of Dasu Hydro power project and Diamer Basha Dam. He said the government planned to build both these dams in simultaneously.
Earlier, Pakistan and China signed a MoU for setting up a 660 MW coal power plant in Gaddani.
The MoU was signed between Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and China’s Gezhouba Group (CGGC). The signing ceremony was witnessed by Federal Minister Khawaja Asif, Ambassador Masood Khalid and Executive President of CGGC International Yang Yisheng.
Secretary Water and Power Saifullah Chatta told APP that two Chinese and one Korean company had already made their commitment for setting up power plants in Gaddani. This is the third Chinese company that had signed MoU.
The CGGC have also assured financing for this projects, Chatta said adding that around dollars 900 million were required for setting up of such coal based power projects.
Speaking on the occasion, Khawaja Asif lauded the CGGC, which was working on Neelum Jehlum Hydal Power projects for its commitment to complete the project on or before the scheduled time.
He said that generation of hydro power would help improve the country’s economy at one hand and on the other people would get low cost electricity.
On the occasion Mr. Yang expressed keen interest in various infrastructure projects, besides laying of transmission line for the Neelum Jehlum power project, construction of cement plants and housing units.
Khawaj Asif said there was huge prospects for setting up cerement plants in Pakistan, as “we have abundance of deposits of limestone used in cement making”.
He pointed out that Pakistan was already exporting cement to neighbouring countries, including Afghanistan, Middle Eastern countries as well as India.
At the same time, he said the government had an ambitious plan for the construction of affordable houses for the general public and the CGGC cooperation in this regard would be welcomed.
The minister also proposed to Mr. Yang for setting up a jetty in Gaddani for handling and transpiration of coal for power plants.
The minister also held a detailed meeting with Administrator Wu Xinxiong of National Energy Administration (NEA) and lauded his all-out cooperation for Pakistan in various infrastructure projects, including energy.
The minister also discussed with Mr. Wu the future cooperation in various areas and also invited him to visit Pakistan. He also met with senior officers of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC).
The minister, who had a very busy day, met with a number of senior officers and chief executives and discussed with them cooperation in energy sectors.
In a meeting meeting with Khawaja Asif, Vice-President of Harbin Power Company Wang Shimin, who has already presence in Pakistan, offered financing of his company on various infrastructure projects.