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Friday January 21, 2022

Hammad Azhar vows to increase power transmission capacity to 30,000MW

A poor transmission system is a major reason for power outages, says energy minister

By Web Desk
January 15, 2022
Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar addresses a press conference. Photo: PID/file
Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar addresses a press conference. Photo: PID/file 

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar Saturday vowed to increase power transmission capacity to 30,000MW this year.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Azhar said that a poor transmission system is a major reason for power outages, adding that the government was focusing on upgrading the transmission system instead of power generation.

“The [electricity] situation improved after the government revised deals with the independent power producers (IPPs),” he added.

The PTI government will not sign agreements in closed rooms, he said, and added: “If needed, the government will get additional electricity through open bidding.”

He said that the second phase of the Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Power Project was completed yesterday.

Talking about the PTI-led government’s achievements, the minister said that a market-based exchange rate system has been set up in the country. The government separated customs policy from FBR and tax policy, he said, adding that Pakistan saw an increase in exports due to the government's business-friendly policies.

Responding to a question about the autonomy of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the minister said: "Cental banks are independent in the countries where monetary policy or growth is stable.”

“PML-N had also announced SBP's autonomy in 2015 but later they did not follow it,” he said.

In a bid to facilitate the farmers, the government busted cartels in agriculture, Azhar said. When asked about the shortage of fertilisers, he said it is "not a matter of shortage but an issue of the high demand of urea".

The minister vowed to increase the country’s exports to $30 billion and achieve an economic growth rate of 5% this year. The government’s economic reforms have put the country’s economy on an upward trajectory, he said.

Responding to a query about the "heated argument" between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, the minister said that PTI believes in democratic norms and traditions. He said that everyone has the right to speak in party meetings and even in the cabinet meeting.

Khattak had raised the issue of a ban on new gas connections in his constituency, Azhar said, adding that he, on the directives of PM Imran Khan, had briefed the defence minister over the issue and satisfied him.