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October 12, 2018

Diamer-Bhasha Dam: PEC proposes setting up public limited company


October 12, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) has proposed the government for establishing a Public Limited Company and issue its shares on the pattern of Sukkuk bonds to get financing for early completion of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, which has become the life-line of Pakistan.

The government should establish a public limited company for the early completion of the dam with the seed money which is being collected as well as allocated funds for it in PSDP, while share of the company may be floated in the market, said PEC Chairman Jawed Salim Qureshi while talking to media here on Thursday. He further said that these shares must be issued on the pattern of Sukkuk bonds by taking two part tariff [take or pay] from National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra). He said Inshallah the designated fund will receive a rainfall of billions of rupees. The seismic study report of the dam is clear and it has now become the lifeline of the country.

Further he proposes to add an amount of two cents in estimated cost of energy to be produced through this dam. These two cents may be distributed to stakeholders in the form of dividends up to 10 years and after that period the normal profit may be given to them, he said. The council was also working to organising three conferences to discuss the technical aspects, feasibility, role of engineering community, cost effectiveness and options of funds generation for Diamir-Bhasha dam, he added. There is only one engineer in grade 21 working in the Planning Commission. No other engineer is working on grade 21 in the entire country. The main reason for increasing the cost of projects is the non inclusion of engineers. All the cost estimates of the projects are being made by the non-professionals. About 40 percent non-professional people are sitting in the projects.

Qureshi emphasised on representation of professional engineers in policy making as most of the development projects are concerned with engineering. Role of engineering community in policy making is must for technical viable projects that foster economic growth. Much of the development budget allocated for energy, water reservoirs, construction of affordable housing and industrial growth. How can our country afford to make economic and development policies without the input from the engineering community?, he questioned. He offered the technical expertise of PEC for preparing the feasibility of Diamer-Bhasha dam and five million affordable houses as per the agenda of the present government. The decision of the Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar has gathered the whole nation on the issue of construction of dam. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has collected close to 4.693 billion rupees. However we still need to go a long way as over Rs500 billion are required for completion of the dam only while 1900 billion rupees are required for completion of whole project. PEC should be provided an opportunity in the construction of the dam.

It can help save up to Rs200 billion in its [Bhasha dam] construction, he claimed. Previously, our proposals were not been honored. On October 3rd the Supreme Court of Pakistan had given a landmark decision in favour of PEC. The Supreme Court in its decision said that the government should not allow or permit any person to perform professional engineering work as defined in the PEC act, who does not possess accredited engineering qualification from the accredited engineering institution and his name is not registered as a registered engineer or professional engineer under PEC act.

Chairman PEC attributed the increased power sector circular debt to the posing of non-professional people. An institution like NHA is run by non-professional people. The previous government had amended the NHA Act and inducted non-professional people. In five technical ministries there is no engineer of grade 20 or 21, he added. He said the government has generated 11000MW electricity however lack of engineering workforce Wapda cannot transmit the electricity. There is Shortage of manpower in power distribution companies is 32000, of which 21000 is very crucial.

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