En­ergy is­sues to be un­der con­trol in 2 years: Khur­ram

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Fed­eral Com­merce Min­is­ter En­gi­neer Khur­ram Dast­gir Khan Thurs­day said en­ergy is­sues would be well un­der con­trol within next two years. He ex­pressed th­ese views in a meet­ing with of­fice-bear­ers of the Fed­er­a­tion of Pak­istan Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try (FPCCI) and lead­ing busi­ness­men and later in a brief me­dia talk at the La­hore Expo Cen­tre on Thurs­day.

The Fed­eral Min­is­ter said suf­fi­cient elec­tric­ity and gas would not only be avail­able to all sorts of con­sumers but also at a com­par­a­tive rate within next two years. The Fed­eral Com­merce Min­is­ter said de­spite short­age of elec­tric­ity this win­ter, there was zero load-shed­ding on all in­dus­trial feed­ers, as­sert­ing that Pak­istan's eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment hinged at in­dus­trial sec­tor that was again a ma­jor source of jobs cre­ation.

He said all the ap­pre­hen­sions about LNG (Liq­ue­fied Nat­u­ral Gas) im­port had now died down and Pak­istan man­aged to strike an agree­ment with Qatar for LNG im­port at a very com­par­a­tive rate of just over 13 per­cent of the im­ported oil price. While, most of the on­go­ing power projects from all re­sources would start gen­er­a­tion within next two years, he added.

The Fed­eral Min­is­ter men­tioned that fi­nan­cial close of USD 2.4 bil­lion Thar Coal Ex­trac­tion Pro­ject had been done and Prime Min­is­ter would soon per­form ground-break­ing of the pro­ject to be com­pleted by 2018.

To a ques­tion, he said soon af­ter waiver of sanc­tions from Iran, he had held a meet­ing with newly ap­pointed Ira­nian Am­bas­sador in Is­lam­abad and dis­cussed in de­tailed the pos­si­bil­ity of Free Trade Agree­ment (FTA) with Iran as well as mat­ters re­gard­ing Iran-Pak­istan Gas Pipe­line. He men­tioned, Prime Min­is­ter Muham­mad Nawaz Sharif had also vis­ited Iran and cen­tral Asian states for im­prov­ing Pak­istan's con­nec­tiv­ity with them.

"Now, we are at an ad­vanced stage of im­prov­ing of our trade re­la­tions with Iran," he said and added that now Pak­istan's ex­ports to Iran would in­crease and in ad­di­tion to rice, other com­modi­ties would also be sent to Iran. Khur­ram Dast­gir said cur­rent fi­nan­cial year would prove to be very chal­lenge­able for Pak­istan's ex­ports due to global re­ces­sion and eco­nomic slow­down of China. He elab­o­rated that Pak­istan ex­ports in­creased by 15 per­cent un­der the GSP-Plus regime but it could not make an em­i­nent im­pact due to de­cline in value of Euro against US dol­lar, while Pak­istani cot­ton yarns de­mand re­duced sub­stan­tially by re­spec­tive Chi­nese com­pa­nies due to their eco­nomic slow­down.

The Fed­eral Min­is­ter viewed that th­ese were tem­po­rary chal­lenges, which would be over­come; how­ever, the coun­try's ma­jor chal­lenge was com­pet­i­tive­ness of its mer­chan­dises at global level mainly be­cause of high in­put cost. Keep­ing this fac­tor in view, he men­tioned, the Prime Min­is­ter had an­nounced Rs 3 per unit re­duc­tion in the elec­tric­ity tar­iff for the in­dus­try.

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