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Monday, May 3, 2010

Shahbaz for joint strategy on energy, security issues

KARACHI : Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif on Monday underlined the need for a joint strategy to resolve energy and security issues at top priority to boost investment and progress in the country.

Speaking at Punjab Investment Conference organised by Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) at a local hotel, he said that both issues were severely hurting country's economy and efforts to attract investment and these should be dealt at par.

He said that shortage of energy was hindering industrialization in the country and investment cannot be attracted without enhancement of power generation.

He was of the view that challenges can be converted into opportunities by properly addressing energy issue which was badly affecting industry, agriculture, trade and the society as a whole.

CM Punjab noted that gas should be provided to power generation sector as agreed at the national energy summit two weeks ago to enhance electricity production.

He said that only 20 percent of the gas is supplied to power generation sector which is not sufficient to fully utilise the existing generation capacity.

He pointed out sugar industry has a capacity of producing 3000 megawatts of electricity and this capacity should be utilized in the interest of the country's economy and its people.

He urged Sindh Chief Minister to convene a conference and invite representatives of four provinces, sugar industry people and energy experts to discuss the possibility of using power generation capacity of this industry on immediate basis.

Shahbaz Sharif said that he was not there to divert investment from Karachi or Sindh to Punjab but, in fact, he was promoting a partnership between Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pukhtunkhawa under a joint strategy.

He underlined the need for utilizing coal reserves in three provinces to produce electricity and also chalk out plan to mobilize funds for these projects.

He also called for improving law and order situation and security to attract local and foreign investment in the country.

Shahbaz Sharif underscored the need for holding a grand frank dialogue between politicians, entrepreneurs and all the stakeholders to discuss problems hindering the growth so as to remove bottlenecks and get rid of red-tapism.

Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that the provinces must complement each other in their efforts for attracting investment instead of competition.

He was of the opinion that the provinces must have a joint strategy to take benefits of the strengths and help each other to overcome weaknesses. We should discourage unhealthy competition and encourage healthy competition, he noted.

He said Sindh was endowed with a long coastal belt, sea ports, fisheries and large reserves of coal and gas. Only two percent of the Thar coal can generate 10,000 MW of power for at least 20 years to become a power house for not only Pakistan but also for the region, he added.

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