SHEIKHUPURA: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Friday said Pakistan was heading towards an economic revival as its economy turns around and promises a bright future for the people of Pakistan.
He was addressing the ground-breaking ceremony of the Rs 55 billion Bhikki Power project near Shiekhupura. The project, to be completed in 2017, would add a substantial 1180 MW electricity to the national grid.
The Prime Minister said the project that could have cost Rs 95 billion as per the Nepra tarrif, would now complete in only Rs 55 billion, owing to the transparent policies of the government.
Nawaz Sharif said the PC-I of the project called for higher cost of commissioning of the project. It could have been an easier choice for any crook government to exploit it for sheer popularity, he said. But, the PML-N government does not believe in such tactics and treats the national funds as a sacred trust of the people.
He said the project would save Rs 360 billion in its project- life of 30 years and the work on Bhikki and two power projects would help the country save a whooping Rs 1080 billion.
The Prime Minister said neither the country could progress, nor electricity be produced just by chanting slogans and burning electricity bills while sitting on containers.
He said those who hurled baseless allegations atop the containers, lack the ability to understand what it means to serve the nation selflessly. Nawaz Sharif said those criticising the government just for the sake of criticism were doing no service to masses and added, he always prayed to Allah Almighty to guide such people, to sanity.
He said inflation was at its lowest ebb in country’s history, while the economic indicators were positive and the world today was acknowledging the great economic turnaround.
He said the government believes in serving the masses and was committed to providing cheap electricity for consumers, to run industrial units, make the exports viable, increase employment, enhance agricultural yield and turn around the national economy.
He termed it criminal offence of the previous governments who neglected the critical need of electricity generation. He said now the onus of rectifying the ills of the past was on his government which was doing its best to end the loadshedding by 2018.
He paid tributes to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and others who worked day and night to make the project feasible and provide electricity at lower and cheaper rates.
The Prime Minister said his government was striving to end power shortage and working on mega projects for improvement of road networks across the country in a transparent manner. In this regard, he also cited the Rs 150 billion re-surfacing of the motorway project.
Nawaz Sharif mentioned the Neelum Jhelum, Dasu dam, Tarbella IV, Thar Coal and several other projects that were working at a fast pace.
He regretted politicizing of the ambitious “Kissan Package” and said the government was going in appeal and would like it revived as it would greatly help the farming community who was going through a difficult time.
He said the government wanted to install solar tube-wells and provide series of incentives for the farmers, but unfortunately some political parties wanted to bring a bad name to the package.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif earlier performed ground-breaking ceremony of the project at Bhikki to be jointly commissioned by M/s Harben Electric International of China and the General Electric Company of the United States of America.
The event was attended by Governor Punjab Rafiq Rijwana, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif said the government was confronting challenges at several fronts including terrorism on the one hand and power shortages at the other.
He cited the fast pace of work on several power projects across the country and said under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif the country would soon be able to get rid of the power shortages.
He said the projects undertaken by the government went through some of the “most transparent and clean” bidding projects and the country saved precious Rs 110 billion in various projects, a feat by the PML-N government that would go in country’s history.
Referring to criticism by some political parties about the Pakistan China economic corridor and speculations about Chinese investments in the country, he said the opponents today were nowhere to be seen, as these projects were taking a shape.
He said the project was one hundred percent funded by the Punjab government and not a penny was given by the federal government.
The power generated would be added to the national grid, he said and expressed gratitude to all who helped materialise the project.
The project CEO of Quaid Azam Thermal Power Pvt Ltd, Ahad Khan Cheema briefed the Prime Minister about the salient features of the project.
He said it was a modern turbine technology, running on imported LNG and a backup of High Speed Diesel. The gas fired combined cycle power plant, to be completed in 2017, would be country’s most fuel efficient power project and has met all government regulations.
The Bhikki plant is scheduled to start simple cycle operations in February 2017 while the operations on combined cycle mode will commence from December 2017.
President of Harben Electric International of China lauded the efforts of government in taking concrete measures for addressing country’s chronic power shortage issues. He said the plant to be completed at a cost of US 539 million dollars would provide cheap electricity.
CEO of General Electric Pakistan Saram Sheikh said his company would install the most efficient H-series gas turbines at the plant manufactured and guaranteed by the General Electric of USA.
He said Bhikki would have high thermal efficiency, leading in providing cleaner, cheaper power.
He termed it one of the most efficient power plants in the world that would power three million homes.