Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has asked the Ministry of Water and Power to ensure payments by provinces and reconcile outstanding amounts within 60 days as per the decisions taken by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) in its last meeting.
He expressed hope that the ministry would be able to frame policies with the aim to improve situation on both short- and long-term basis.
The minister was chairing a meeting on ‘Pakistan Power Sector Investment Prospects’ at the finance ministry. The meeting discussed both immediate and long-term demand and the generation capacity of the country.
Currently, there is a shortfall of 4,000 megawatts (MW) in power generation and with the future prospects of increased growth rate; the demand will further increase in the next five years. It was noted that with projects in the pipeline, the country would need to set up cheaper fuel-based energy projects to overcome the energy shortage.
“We must be realistic and pragmatic at the planning stages and frame our policies for investment,” said Dar.
He emphasised on improving the energy mix to bring down generation price. He underlined that instead of furnace oil-based power projects the country should focus on hydel and coal-powered ones.
He added that international investors, including Chinese companies, were interested in financing energy projects.
Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif informed the meeting that the ministry had improved during the last one year in all aspects of power, including generation, transmission, distribution and recovery.
With the focus of political leadership on cheaper fuel-based power, the power mix would improve significantly, he added, and assured that the priority list for future projects would be determined by keeping in view the right energy mix.
Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood, secretaries of water and power, planning and development, and Economic Affairs Division, and senior officials of the finance ministry also attended the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2014.
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