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January 4, 2018

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China weighs investment in power distribution sector

ISLAMABAD: China is keen to invest in power distribution sector in Pakistan after financing a number of electricity generation projects in the country, a foreign envoy said on Wednesday.

“China will look into investing in the service delivery at the (power) distribution level and in this regard he would soon engage with leading service providers in China,” Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said in a meeting with Awais Leghari, minister for power.

Jing agreed to nominate a focal person at the embassy to improve coordination with the Pakistan’s authorities. Ambassador Jing said the performance of power sector under the CPEC has been a success story, which is acknowledged at different forums in China.

“Investors in China are closely and keenly observing the fast growing power sector in Pakistan and its progress has been reckoned as exemplary,” the Chinese envoy said.

He assured the power division minister that China would keep on extending assistance to Pakistan in the power sector, which is instrumental for the success of the CPEC and vital to Pakistan. Leghari said the power division will hold individual meetings with all the parties involved in building power plants under CPEC to assist them complete the projects on time. Power sector stakeholders like Private Power Infrastructure Board, Alternative Energy Development Board, and National Transmission and Dispatch Company will also be part of these meetings.

Currently, Chinese buyer is awaiting no-objection certificate from the government to conclude over a billion dollars deal to purchase the integrated power utility K-Electric. As many as 17,045 megawatts of energy will be generated through CPEC-related energy projects that would help the country bridging gap between power supply and demand as well as produce surplus electricity.

Leghari said CPEC has strengthened ties between the two countries to epic proportions and the cooperation would further scale new heights.

“Chinese investors are welcome to participate in the consumer services as the country has bridged the demand and supply gap with their assistance,” the minister said. Most of the early harvest energy projects being built under CPEC will be completed before 2019. Around 17 priority energy projects have been completed under the CPEC framework. The minister also invited suggestions of the Chinese ambassador for the proposed meetings with the Chinese investors.

“While highlighting the importance of service at the discos (distribution companies) level and the proposed law likely to be enacted soon for private sector participation at the distribution level, the federal minister invited the Chinese investors to participate in the consumer services as the country has achieved bridging the demand and supply gap with the great assistance of Chinese Investors,” a government statement said. “He (power minister) said that the market for service delivery at discos level offer lucrative returns.” In 2017, around 1,650 megawatts of electricity was added to the grid system, while projects of 3,270MW capacity would become operational by 2018.

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