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April 12, 2019

Murad invites French businessmen to invest in Sindh


April 12, 2019

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has invited French investors to invest in the construction of grid stations and transmission lines for Thar coal energy, which, he says, is going to move the national industrial spin.

He extended the offer at a meeting with a 12-member French business delegation led by French Ambassador Marc Barety at the CM House here on Thursday. The delegation included Thierry Pflimlin, the chairman of the France-Pakistan Business Council, Economic Counsellor Philippe Fouet, Consul General of France in Karachi Didier Talpain and others.

The chief minister was assisted by provincial ministers Ismail Rahu, Imtiaz Shaikh, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem and provincial secretaries of different departments.

The French delegation had the investors and businessmen of different sectors such as energy, agriculture, water-cleaning work, livestock, fisheries and infrastructure.

The chief minister said that the provincial government had started producing electricity from indigenous source of Thar coal. At the initial stage, the production has been started with 660 megawatts but it would be boosted to 10,000 megawatts. “We have the technology to produce coal energy and mining, but now the actual problem occurs is evacuation [of generated electricity] in the grid,” he said and added that the Sindh government had already established its grid company and the Sindh Transmission & Dispatch Company.

Shah said that the provincial government had limited resources; therefore, it would encourage investment on a public-private partnership mode in the establishment of grids stations and transmission Lines for the transmission of coal and renewable energy.

The French investors showed their keen interest in making investment in grid stations and transmission lines. Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh also briefed them about the facilities the energy department and the investment department offered.

The chief minister and the investors agreed to have another meeting with investment department and then with the PPP Unit and decided to move forward. Since in the French delegation, there were investors and experts on water-cleaning, the chief minister gave them two offers of investment, the first one in cleaning Manchhar Lake and other one for the desalination of seawater for Karachi.

Shah said Manchhar located in Sehwan was one of the biggest lakes of Asia but its water had been polluted, rather poisoned, by the release of saline water into it. “I have a dream to restore the lake and rehabilitate the fishermen settled around it,” he said.

He asked the French investors to work on investment or to work on a PPP mode with the Sindh government, saying that in either case the provincial government would provide them maximum facilities and support to clean the polluted lake.

Shah also invited them to invest in the desalination of seawater in Karachi. “The city needs drinking water for which river’s supplies were falling short to cater to the needs of this megalopolis city of Karachi,” he said.

The investors decided to hold more meetings at the P&D, Investment department and then visit the sites of the sea and Manchhar Lake for working together with the government. The agricultural investors of France told the chief minister that they were ready to work with the government on canal-lining, meat and dairy corporate farming, shrimp farming and livestock. The meeting decided to hold separate meetings with the P&D, agriculture and investment departments for further action.

CM meets with UKaid

Shah also met a UKaid delegation led by British High Commissioner Thomas Drew and Joanna Reid, head of the Department for International Development (DFID) Pakistan (UKaid), and urged them to invest directly in nutrition, women empowerment, child-mother Health and education.

The DFID through the Asian Bank and other donor agencies invests in Sindh in different sectors. It has also supported rehabilitation of flood-affected people in Sindh.

Shah said that the DFID should invest directly and support Sindh in the development of the social sector. “We would appreciate if support for investment in infrastructure and renewable energy is made directly,” he said.

The visiting delegation congratulated the chief minister on launching the Thar Coal Power Plant and assured him that they would support Sindh in the development of the social sector in Thar and other backward districts of the province.

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