Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday principally approved the construction of solar power projects of 2000 megawatts in the public sector to generate low-cost and environment-friendly electricity.
The prime minister, who chaired a meeting to review progress on the installation of 10,000 megawatts solar projects across the country, said it would also reduce country’s dependence on power projects running on costly fuels also burdening the foreign exchange reserves.
He said that under the project, the agricultural tube wells would be converted to solar power on an urgent basis. The solar power projects would also help overcome the issues related to line losses, power theft, and circular debt.
The prime minister, who was given a detailed briefing on solar projects, told the meeting that the government would give sovereign-guarantee to the companies investing in the solar projects.
The meeting was told that an investors conference on solarisation was held on September 14 which was attended by local and international investor companies including from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, China and Qatar, which also expressed interest to invest in the sector.
It was told that work on the identification of suitable sites for solar power projects had been started. Such a site near Muzaffargarh has already been identified for the installation of 600MW solar power project.
Moreover, the planning for the installation of 11KV solar-powered feeder is also underway.
The meeting was told that work on a framework and tariff on solar energy was in process with ongoing consultation between Power Division, Alternate Energy Development Board, Central Power Purchasing Company, NEPRA and other departments.
The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to further improve the timelines to ensure the injection of solar energy into the national grid.
The meeting was told that work on solarisation of government buildings was also being done on priority.
For the solarisation of tube wells, the prime minister formed a committee comprising National Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, Secretary Power Division and a representative of the water resources ministry.
Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar, National Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, Advisor to PM Ahad Cheema and Special Assistant to PM Jahanzeb Khan attended the meeting.
Also, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to chalk out an urgent action plan in view of uninterrupted gas supply to consumers during the upcoming winter season.
The prime minister issued the instructions while chairing an emergency meeting to address the challenge regarding provision of gas to domestic and commercial consumers.
PM Sharif warned that any negligence and maladministration in provision of gas supplies would not be tolerated.
He emphasized ensuring gas supply to domestic consumers particularly in hours of cooking.
The prime minister pointed out that the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ignored getting benefit of purchasing gas from international market at cheaper rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He regretted that the entire population especially the common man was suffering the consequences of the ill-planning of the previous government.
Sharif said his government believed in practical steps rather than boasting false statistics and making tall claims.
The meeting was chaired by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, State Minister for Petroleum Mussadik Malik, Adviser Ahad Cheema and senior officials.
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