ISLAMABAD: Terming the private sector as an engine of growth, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said on Sunday that he would like to see it play a leading role in the economy, adding that he was committed to easing loadshedding and people had already felt some improvement under his reign.
The prime minister was talking to the office bearers of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) who called on him at the Prime Minister House. The ICCI delegation congratulated Pervaiz Ashraf on his election as prime minister of the country and hoped that the current challenges would be converted into opportunities under his leadership.
The premier said he was committed to easing loadshedding in the country as soon as possible, and as a matter of fact some improvement had already been felt by the people. He said the situation would further improve as hydropower generation was going to be increased due to considerable improvement in the rivers’ flow because of monsoons and the melting of glaciers. The premier said he was very clear that the development of indigenous sources of energy was absolutely critical for the development of the economy on a sustainable basis as billions of dollars are required for the import of fuel oil.
Pervaiz Ashraf said that it was his passion to see the development of the Thar Coal Project which offered a cheap indigenous solution of the energy crisis on a permanent basis. “The solution will get the country out of the vicious circle of circular debt and also provide enormous fiscal space by saving billions of dollars spent on the import of oil , which could then be spent on welfare-oriented development projects,” he said.
The prime minister said Thar Coal held the key to the prosperous future of Pakistan, and he was determined to see its development. “I will soon visit the site of the project being undertaken under the leadership of Dr Samar Mubarakmand for underground gasification meant for power generation,” the PM maintained. He also underscored the importance of exploiting alternate sources of energy for which there was huge potential in the country. PM Raja said that he would go to the Jhimpir Project by the end of this month and see the experimental operation of the power generation turbine through a windmill established under the auspices of Fauji Fertilizer.
He also appreciated industrialists for the adoption of surface gasifire plants to meet their energy requirements and their production targets, adding that he was happy to know that the private sector was also trying to produce about 2,000MW electricity through bagasse which was an indigenous source and therefore worthwhile.
The premier said that the provincial governments had also embarked upon such projects as there was no bar on them to produce electricity. “After the 7th NFC Award, the financial health of the provinces has improved significantly and they should also share this responsibility with the spirit of collective national obligation,” he added.