ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar on Tuesday apprised the National Assembly that the government has launched various power projects to add 10600 MW electricity to the national grid by 2017.
Replying to a point raised by MNA Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the minister said that major portion of Chinese investment was being made in power sector. Out of $ 46 billion, as many as $ 34 billion was being invested in power generation projects like Tarbela 4th, Tarbela 5th, Port Qasim, Gaddani and Neelum Jhelum projects were included.
He said there was a gap of 4500 MW between demand and supply of electricity that cannot be bridged within a year or two. He said that the government since its inception devised a concrete strategy to overcome the menace of load-shedding.
The minister said that the Prime Minister for the first time in history of country set up sub-committee of the cabinet to review progress on power situation. Its meetings are being held regularly under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister.
Regarding Neelum Jhelum project, the minister said it was a unique project started without any financial close. Earlier, there were technical problems but now those have been removed.
He said total cost of the project has reached Rs 414 billion. The finance ministry on directives of the Prime Minister was paying full attention to the project and arranged Rs 150 billion for the project to ensure its timely completion.
He said that in 2007, it was planned to generate 13000 MW. However, it could not be materialized.
Ishaq Dar said various projects of 14000 MW would also be completed after 2018 including Civil Nuclear project at Karachi, Dasu phase-1, Dasu Phase-2 and Diamer Bhasha dam.
He said that Dasu Phase-1 Project has attained financial close and land was being acquired for the project. Its first phase would generate 2300 MW electricity.
The minister said that Bhasha dam was also an important project and acquisition of land for it was on advanced stage.
He informed that all power projects except Thar Coal under China- Pakistan Corridor were in private sector and being set up on commercial basis.
Dar said the country’s economy was put on right direction and as per Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) report, Pakistan would be second biggest choice for foreign investment.
Regarding IPPs, the minister said the government cleared Rs 480 billion circular debt soon after coming into power resulting addition of 1400 MW to the national grid system.
He said that circular debt has been curtailed to Rs 275 billion and efforts were on to address the problem on permanent basis.
Ishaq Dar said that loan was being provided to industry at lowest rate of 7 per cent markup and it was a lowest interest in the last 40 years.
The minister said, the government was ready to do more for industry and currently zero load-shedding was being carried out in industrial zones.
Earlier, speaking on a resolution moved by Khalida Mansoor that the government should take steps to control electricity pilferage in the country, Shehyrar Afraid of PTI said that 16-18 hour power load- shedding was being carried out. He said that deposit amount was also not being released for repair of power transformers and blamed officials and power companies for power theft. He also complained of poorly skilled WAPDA that take too long for repair of the transformers and demanded at least one workshop at divisional headquarters level to repair power transformers.
Sher Akhbar Khan of JI said that WAPDA officials were involved in power theft. He said that despite 100 per cent recovery in Buner, 18-20 hour power load-management was being observed in the district.
He suggested that PESCO should be bifurcated to shift load from one area to other.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said that world conference should be convened to address power problems. He said the power crisis could be addressed if the government makes payment to IPPs. Later the House was adjourned to meet again on Wednesday at 1030 hours.