Investment in energy to be encouraged

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LAHORE -A delegation of prominent industrialists, investors and traders of the country led by Chairman Nishat Group Mian Muhammad Mansha met Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif at Chief Ministerís Office on Sunday.†

Various proposals for overcoming energy crisis and investment in power projects were considered in the meeting. It was agreed in the meeting that private sector will set up power generation projects with solar, biomass and biogas while Punjab government will extend all out facilities for investment. Proposals for†establishment of a joint energy fund for investment in energy sector were also considered on the occasion.

Provincial Minister for Energy Sher Ali Khan, Minister for Agriculture Dr. Farrukh Javed, Advisor Azm-ul-Haq, Coordinator to Chief Minister on Energy Shahid Riaz Gondal, Chief Secretary, Secretaries of Finance, and energy departments, Vice Chairman Punjab Investment Board, Chairman Hira Textile, Chairman Allied Bank, President Alfallah Bank, Chairman Rupali Polyester, prominent industrialists, investors and traders were also present on the occasion.

Talking to the delegation, the Chief Minister said that energy crisis badly affected all sectors of life and poverty and unemployment have increased due to closure of industries. He said that in addition to government, private sector will also have to play its role in overcoming shortage of power. He said that Punjab government will provide all out resources and facilities for investment in energy sector. He said that assistance of industrialists, traders and investors is required for dealing with problem of shortage of electricity.

The chief minister welcomed the offer of private sector for investment in energy projects and commended its spirit. He said that circular debt cannot be eliminated without curbing power and gas theft and said that Punjab government will play an effective role for this purpose. He said that a taskforce has been established for controlling the theft of electricity and gas which has started operation. He said that investment will increase with the solution of energy crisis.

He said that government of PML-N is making rapid progress in energy sector and work is also being carried out for import of LNG. He said that had the project of import of LNG been implemented in 2010, there would not have been shortage of gas in the country but this project fall a prey to corruption of the former rulers. He said that Punjab government is working on projects of generation of power from coal, biomass, biogas and other alternative sources. He said that instructions have been issued for conducting a survey regarding availability of biomass in the province. He said that PML-N leadership has taken a bold step for the elimination of circular debt and positive progress has been made in this direction.

Chairman Nishat Group, Mian Mansha said that energy shortage was causing a big loss to industrial sector of the country and this problem will have to be resolved for saving national economy. He assured the cooperation of private sector for this purpose.

Mansha further stated that private sector was ready to make investment in energy sector, however, the government should provide necessary facilities for this purpose and settle issues with railway authorities for transportation of coal. He said that there was a capacity of production of 6000 megawatt electricity from biomass in Punjab and a strategy had been devised for investment in the projects of generation of power from biomass. †Industrialists and investors appreciated the government efforts for eliminating circular debt and congratulated Muslim League-N leadership and Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar on the payment of circular debt.

Courtesy: †Nation

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