MULTAN: About possible import of electricity from India, Federal Minister for Commerce Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan has said that the government would avail all resources from every corner whether east or west to overpower energy crisis. He was addressing the business community at Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He further said that talks with India were focused on linking grids of the two countries. The government wishes to maintain peaceful relations with neighbouring countries and improve trade with them, he said, adding that it also desires to connect infrastructure with neighbouring countries to support trade.
He said that talks with Iran were also in progress on Pak-Iran gas pipeline project adding that the previous regime laid its foundations without ‘financial close-up’.
He said the government had vision to increase electricity generation to 25,000 megawatts in three years and then up to 40,000 megawatts. He added that conversion of all thermal power plants to coal would take over 18 months. The government also wishes to begin work on Diamir Bhasha and Dasu dams simultaneously to address water and energy requirements of the country.
He said that gas shortage would also come to an end soon adding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would soon lay the foundation stone of LNG terminal in Karachi. The work on Guddu and Jamshoro projects would also begin and Asian Development Bank was extending $ 900 million for the purpose.
Khurram disclosed that China was providing soft term loan to Pakistan to add another 2100 megawatts of power to the national grid. He said the government wanted to build a new relationship with the people, a partnership in development and welfare initiatives so that people can themselves run projects once they are funded and installed by the government.
He promised that most of the problems confronting the country now would be resolved to a greater extent by June 2015. Pakistan would be well placed to robustly launching its journey to prosperity and national development. The current and the next fiscal year would be a bit difficult, however, he added.
Dastgir said that despite the fact that India will not be given Most Favoured Nation status balance would be maintained in bilateral trade with the neighbouring country. He said that the present regime had started the economic diplomacy which would bear its fruits in years ahead.
The minister said that trade related talks with India were now focused on the basis of ‘Non Discriminatory Market Access’ instead of Most Favoured Nation status. “We want indiscriminate access to Indian markets on the principal of reciprocity to maintain the balance in bilateral trade,” Dastgir said.
Federal Minister urged the industrialists to opt for value-addition in all sectors to extract maximum benefits out of GSP plus opportunity and address unemployment problem at home. He said that value-addition consumes comparatively lower energy, provides jobs to more number of people particularly women, brings premium price from the foreign markets and comparatively less time is consumed in establishing a unit for the production value-added products.
MCCI President Khawaja Usman, DG Khan Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Khawaja Anis, PCGA senior Vice President Sheikh Asim Saeed, All Pakistan Bed Sheets and Upholstery Manufacturers Association Chairman Mian Asim, South Punjab Women Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Fatima Leghari, Nishtar Medical Institutions Board of Management Chairman Khawaja Jalaluddin Roomi besides other industrialists and officials were also present.