Govt committed to address power shortage; to encourage investment in energy sector: PM

KARACHI: Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said Tuesday the present government was committed to address the issue of power shortage in the country and would encourage the local and foreign investment in energy.

“We will eliminate darkness from this country and a day will come when every house will have electricity”, the Prime Minister remarked while speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of 1320 MW coal fired power plant at Port Qasim.

The power project is a joint venture of Sinohydro Resources Limited, China (a wholly owned subsidiary of M/s Power Construction Corporation of China) and M/s Al Mirqab Capital, Qatar, which will undertake development of two 660 MW each coal based power projects.

The Prime Minister said his government did not waste a single day during the last eleven months and the current 660 MW project, which is the first phase of 1320 MW power project, reflected the commitment of the government to address the energy issue.

Prime Minister Sharif said after coming into power he utilized most of his time to get the country out of energy crisis through consultation with experts, which shows the government’s priorities.

He said the current project was the result of government’s untiring efforts, which was planned during the last eleven months and today it is being implemented.

The Prime Minister said the government conceived this project, removed all the hurdles and started it in a short period of time.

The Prime Minister said he had no doubt in his mind from the very first day of his government that realizing the dream of socio- economic development was impossible without addressing the issue of energy.

“The severity of this crisis required day and night work on power projects, so that we could replace the darkness with lights”, he remarked.

He said the ground-breaking of this power project at Port Qasim has a special significance, as the importance of Karachi in Pakistan’s economy does not need any argument.

The Prime Minister said the government would raise the power generation to 21000 MW.

He said since the production of electricity from the coal fired power plants was cheaper, ten coal fired power projects with a capacity of 660 MW each are being initiated at Gadani in Balochistan, which would add a total of 6600 MW electricity in the national grid.

He said 3500 MW electricity would be generated from Diamer Bhasha Dam in Gilgit Baltistan.

The Prime Minister said 950 MW of electricity would be available from the Neelum Jhelum power project next year.

He also referred to other power projects such as a 1320 MW project at Jamshoro as well as the planned power projects at Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Sahiwal and Jhang.

The Prime Minister said that this journey continued at rapid pace and they laid the foundation for power generation in the next five years, greater than the total power produced in the country’s whole history.

The 1320 MW project is also a part of this series. In the first phase coal-fired 660 MW power would be generated, he added.

He said with the coal-fired power generation, the cost of electricity would be reduced, enabling the general public to get electricity according to their purchasing power.

“It is our desire that we should have not only ample power at our disposal but also a cost-effective one so that a large populace can get relief,” he added.

He said it was a matter of immense pleasure for him that Chinese Power China Company and Qatar’s Al Mirqab Capital have collaborated to initiate this project.

The projected time of completion was 2017, he said and added that looking at the past performances of the companies, he was confident that the project would be completed ahead of the scheduled time.