Apr 25 - May 1, 2011

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz led Punjab government is working on various projects for getting energy through alternate sources and Punjab Power Development Company has already been set up in the province for this purpose.

During current visit of Punjab Chief Minister, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif to China, an agreement has been signed between China and Punjab Government in Beijing for the generation of 120 megawatts power from Taunsa Barrage. The project to be completed with the cooperation of China in three years would cost Rs26 billion.

Chairman Punjab Development Company Babar Nadeem and the Chairman of the state corporation which produces 30,000 megawatt electricity in China, Wang Shao Fang signed the agreement.

It may be noted that the Punjab Cabinet prior to visit of Punjab Chief Executive to China gave approval to the proposals regarding the agreements of 120 megawatt Taunsa Hydropower Project and mapping of wind power potential in Punjab.

Addressing the signing ceremony of the project, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed his gratitude to the Chinese government and people and said that generation of power from Taunsa Barrage would be a historic event. He said that load-shedding besides creating problems for Pakistani people, had also affected industrial and business activities. He said that generation of power from Taunsa Barrage would help mobilize economy as well as generate employment opportunities. He said that the low-cost power generation project had paved the way for foreign investments in energy and other sectors in Punjab and it is hoped that Pakistan would be able to overcome the serious issue of load-shedding through such projects. He expressed the confidence that China could play an important role in ridding Pakistan of load-shedding.

According to him, Pakistan is facing serious crisis of energy which is leaving negative impacts on all sectors including agriculture, industry and trade and also affecting the process of investment.

China Water and Electric Corporation will also carry out a survey about mapping of wind power potential in Punjab for generating energy through wind. Punjab government will not have to provide any financial resources in this regard whereas Chinese company will bear itself all expenses for carrying out this survey. Keeping in view data to be provided by the Chinese company, Punjab government will seek cooperation of companies of other countries in the projects of generating energy through wind.

Sources claimed that the Punjab Government has created a favorable atmosphere for investment in the province and maximum facilities are provided to investors in this regard. An autonomous Punjab Investment Board has been set up for facilitating and provision of all facilities to investors under one roof. Punjab Investment Board should also offer maximum incentives to foreign investors for cooperation in various sectors and provide them complete information about investment opportunities.

The Chief Minister said that promotion of investment is of vital importance for the speedy development of the province and elimination of poverty and unemployment. He said that there are vast opportunities of investment in agriculture, livestock, dairy farming, and energy sectors in Punjab. He said that Punjab Investment Board should extend maximum encouragement to foreign investors in these sectors and investment process should be further simplified. He appreciated the measures taken by Punjab Investment Board for investment and said that due to the efforts of the board local and foreign companies have invested in various sectors while negotiations are underway for further investment. He said that transparency is the top priority of the government and this policy is strictly implemented in all development projects and transparent utilization of every penny of public money is ensured. He directed that public-private partnership should also be promoted. He said that had indigenous resources been developed during last 63 years, the country would not have been dependent on others. He said that Pakistan could still be put on the road to progress and development if sincere and determined efforts are made for this purpose while the goal of self-reliance can also be achieved through development of national resources.