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June 22, 2021

‘Govt spent $800mln on power infrastructure in 2.5 years’

 
June 22, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Government has spent $800 million to expand and improve transmission and distribution system in the country in two and half years and earmarked $117 million for the next fiscal year, energy minister said.

Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar said the investment led to record transmission of more than 4,000MW this fiscal year. Briefing US Embassy Chargé d’affairess, a.i. Lesslie Viguerie, Azhar said demand of electricity increased 20 percent, of which the industrial demand was above 12 to 13 percent, according to a news statement.

The minister said the increase in demand is a very positive sign for entire economic health of the country and the energy sector as it has boosted the confidence of investors. US Embassy Economic Counselor Daniel Froats, Secretary Power Division Ali Raza, and other officials attended the meeting.

Azhar the growth of circular debt has been reduced by Rs200 Billion this year as compared to previous year due to prudent policies and effective measures taken by the government. The government is expecting to cut the circular debt to Rs1.1 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2023 compared to Rs2.6 trillion.

The minister invited the US-based companies to explore possibilities of investment in the energy market. The minister said Pakistan and United States have ‘excellent’ working relations in the energy sector, which will further boost with the new investor friendly policies of the present government.

With the assistance of USAID, Pakistan has achieved another milestone for long-term energy planning in the shape of indicative generation capacity expansion plan, “which is bound to address many issues relating to planning and demand assessments”.

The United States International Development Finance Corporation is also investing renewable energy projects in Pakistan. Azhar said the new renewable and alternative energy policy has set ambitious targets to enhance the share of renewable energy up to 30 percent by the year 2030 which will have direct implication for the clean and green initiatives. This will tap the indigenous energy potential and offer good return on investment to the potential entrepreneurs.

Viguerie said the existing cooperation between Pakistan and USA in energy sector will further be enhanced. He said government’s effective policies to address issues specially steps taken to arrest the growth of circular debt are sending positive signal to the investors. “American companies are taking keen interest in the energy sector of Pakistan,” he said. He appreciated the government’s policy to attach preference to clean and green energy sources.