The business community of Punjab, while praising the provincial government for allocating Rs10 billion for energy projects, has underlined the need for some concrete measures in this regard before starting any joint ventures between the government and private sector.
They have even offered their cooperation to the government as energy is the most critical issue of the industry, which has been battered by power and gas shortages.
“Though the provincial government has taken this step too late, we still appreciate them for taking the initiative to save the industry to some extent,” said Kashif Younis Meher, Acting President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
Meher agreed to the idea of public-private partnerships in developing coal-gasification plants.
According to budget documents, the provincial government has chalked out a policy to install coal-fired plants at six different industrial estates. Each plant will produce 50 megawatts of electricity and provide uninterrupted power supply to industries. Special incentives will be given to those who will invest in this project.
The government has also claimed to have completed feasibility study on 10 hydropower projects at a cost of Rs29 billion, which will generate 80 megawatts. It plans to complete five projects through public-private partnerships while the remaining will be undertaken by the government with the help of Asian Development Bank.
Besides these, the Punjab Power Development Board has started research work on 54 different projects, which will generate 688 megawatts of electricity.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2012.