POWER GENERATION A MATTER OF GREAT CONCERN: ANALYSTS

KANWAL SALEEM  
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

May 17 - 23, 2010

In the wake of persistent power crisis in the country, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz led Punjab Government has started making concerted efforts to attract local as well as foreign investors in the energy sector.

The Punjab government has established Punjab Power Development Company Limited (PPDCL). Power generation projects worth one billion dollars are being envisaged with the local funds.

Punjab Board of Investment & Trade (PBIT) organised a moot titled "Energy Roundtable-Power Shortages, the way forward."

The Punjab Chief Minister, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif chaired the moot while federal minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Senior Provincial Minister Raja Riaz Ahmed, members of the provincial cabinet, parliamentarians, Consul General of Iran, consultants in energy sector from Pakistan and abroad and renowned business tycoons attended the moot.

Economic Consultant to Chief Minister Punjab Pir Saad Ahsan-ud-Din who is also CEO Punjab Board of Investment & Trade presented the welcome address.

Three MoUs with regard to cooperation in energy sector between Punjab government and Telenor Pakistan, Iran-Pak Wind power and Ismail Power Company were signed under which Telenor would install hydropower plant whereas Iran-Pak Wind power and Ismail Power companies would install plants of 50MW of energy generation from coal in the province. Secretary Commerce Fazal Abbas, on behalf of Punjab government, whereas representatives of Telenor, Ismail Power Company and Iran-Pak Windpower signed the MoUs.

The Punjab government is also setting up an coal-run power generation plant at Dera Ghazi Khan and for this purpose an agreement has also been signed with Balochistan for acquiring coal. There are vast opportunities of investment in energy sector and government will encourage local and foreign investors in this sector.

Addressing the moot, Punjab Chief Minister, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that Punjab government is fully committed to provide all possible facilities to attract local as well as foreign investors in the energy sector. He said that provincial government will act as a catalyst to promote the power generation projects through optimising coal fired energy reserves, alternate energy resources like biomass energy, solar energy from Cholistan area and co-generation of power by sugar mills besides installation of hydropower units by constructing small dams on canals and distributaries. He said that the energy generation is a matter of our survival.

The Punjab Chief Minister said that the provincial government has been engaged proactively with the stakeholders and the federal government for alleviating the economic slump created by energy crisis. He said that Pakistan was facing tough challenge of combating terrorism which literally shook the foundation of our country, but the nation stood united in the war of terrorism and the complete unanimity among all political parties is this regard is reaping dividend.

He said the massive load shedding in Pakistan has also turned out as a form of terrorism. We have to keep up our nerves and find out rational solutions. "The industry is almost shut down, the shopkeepers are compelled to close their shops, the doctors can not perform operations in hospitals, closure of schools and offices for two days in a week is being enforced by the government, tube wells are out of functions due to non-supply of power and huge export orders are being cancelled which is eating into two percent of our GDP."

The Chief Minister said that the government of Punjab cannot remain idle in this situation. He asked the participants of "Energy Roundtable" to suggest how the gap between power generation and power consumption could be bridged. He invited the foreign delegates and the local entrepreneurs to come forward for initiating investment in the energy sector and identify tremendous scope for improvements in energy efficiency.

The Chief Minister expressed his satisfaction over the fact that after taking conservation measures which were decided in the Energy Summit Conference held in Islamabad last month industry is now going slightly better as one thousand mega watts electricity has been saved due to conservation of energy and effective monitoring of the conservation measures. This owes to the selfless cooperation extended by the patriotic businessmen community and the public at large, the Chief Minister said.

The CEO Punjab Board of Investment & Trade Pir Saad Ahsan-ud-Din in his welcome address said that the Punjab government has established Punjab Power Development Company Limited (PPDCL). Power generation projects worth one billion dollars are being envisaged with the local funds. Experts of energy sector from UK and America Clares Rodes James of Moddmicdonl, Michael Keets, Big Ten Group LCC, Neil Fokner, Chairman Power Development Company Nadeem Babar, Chairman Fatima Sugar Mill Fawad Mukhtar, CEO Creative Energy Resources Shehzad Qasim, CEO Engro Pakistan Asad Omer, CEO MCB Atif Bajwa and Chairman Nepra Khalid Saeed presented their deliberations in the technical sessions of the conference.

Prominent industrialists, chief executive officers of multinational companies and financial institutions, local and foreign experts associated with the energy sector, congratulated Punjab Chief Minister, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on successful holding of Roundtable Energy Conference.

The credit of participation of foreign and local experts and investors in a large number goes to Shahbaz Sharif who is playing an active role for overcoming the energy crisis in the country, they said. They said that this conference would leave far-reaching impact with regard to overcoming energy crisis. They further said that the valuable concrete proposals presented by the experts and chief executives in the conference would help promote investment in the energy sector in the country.

The foreign experts of energy sector and various local participants of the Roundtable Energy Conference also met the Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif for the successful holding of Roundtable Energy Conference.

During the meeting, energy crisis and prospects to use alternate sources for power generation came under discussion.

The Chief Minister talking to the participants of the Roundtable Energy Conference said that the country is facing a serious energy crisis which is affecting all sectors including agriculture, industry, education and health. He said that along with implementation of energy conservation plan there is a dire need of working to explore alternate energy sources on war footings.

The participants of the Energy Conference who met the Punjab Chief Minister included Director of British Company Mott McDonald, Clare Rhodes James, Neil Fanlkner, Mike Keys, Asad Omar of Engro, Chairman Arif Habib Group, Ch. Arif Habib, Navid Malik, Fawad Mukhtar, Sohail Wajhat, Pervez Hamid and Nadeem Babar, Niaz Dubai of Siemens and Kamal Khan of Microsoft.