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Tuesday April 23, 2024

Pakistan loses $5 bn potential Qatari investment

By Mehtab Haider
April 27, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Lacklustre bureaucratic approach and inconsistent policies have resulted in losing $5 billion committed investment from Qatar in RLNG power plants, refurbishment of airports and hotels here in Pakistan and now it has been diverted to Bangladesh.

Now Qatar’s Nebras Power Investment (QEWS QD) has acquired equity stake in Bangladesh’s Unique Meghnaghat Power. Also, the Nebras Power Investment Management has signed a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with Unique Hotel and Resorts Limited (UHRL) to acquire a 24pc equity stake in Unique Meghnaghat Power Limited (UMPL) in Bangladesh.

This acquisition enhances the asset base of Nebras through fully contracted projects. Under this agreement, Nebras will acquire a 24pc stake, while UHRL and SFL will jointly control a 56pc equity share in Unique Meghnaghat Power Limited.

Established in 2018, UMPL, the project company, is constructing a 584 MW gas/RLNG fired combined cycle power plant at Meghnaghat, Sonargaon, in Narayanganj district, approximately 27 kms east of Dhaka. The project will be one of the largest Independent Power Producer (IPP) projects in Bangladesh upon completion in late 2022. The sources said that earlier Pakistan and Qatar authorities had negotiated $5 billion investment in Pakistan but it could not be materialised. The Chief Executive Officer (CEOs) of Qatar Investment Authority and Nebras Power had visited Islamabad on invitation of former chairman Board of Investment Haroon Sharif and met with PM and all other top guns here in Islamabad.

When contacted, former chairman BoI Haroon Sharif said, “Yes, up to USD5 bn funds were earmarked for power sector (LNG plants), airports and hotels. On my special invitation, Sheikh Faisal bin Thani, head of Qatar Investment Authority, and high-level officials from Nebras visited Islamabad and agreed on priority projects for investment. Unfortunately, Pakistan could not fast track these transactions and our competitors managed to attract those funds.”