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Sunday, July 18, 2010

‘Friends of Pakistan’ give positive response to energy plan

ISLAMABAD — The ‘Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP)’, at a meeting here, have accepted most of the proposals made by Islamabad for augmenting its energy resources. The proposals featured in a report estimated that the country would need at least $22 billion for meeting its energy needs.

The study, titled ‘Integrated Energy Sector Recovery Report’, was prepared jointly by the government and the Asian Development Bank. It contains recommendations to reform Pakistan’s energy sector and stresses that an investment of $7.7 billion was needed in the sector over three years. This will add an additional 6,700mw to national grid.

The report also identifies a requirement of $14.88 billion in private sector investments for priority projects in the energy sector. The meeting was chaired by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and was attended by officials from Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, The Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UAE, the UK, the US and representatives of the United Nations, the European Union, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank.

The recommendations will be presented at an FoDP ministerial meeting in Brussels in October, where countries are expected to negotiate projects with Pakistan for investments and financial support in the energy sector.

The Saturday’s meeting was informed that there is a need to focus on energy sector as one of the priority areas because power shortages were creating enormous economic loss to the country. The weak economy was creating hindrances for the government’s efforts to combat extremism and terrorism, while jobless youth were becoming breeding grounds for extremists.

A presentation was given on the Malakand Development Strategy and the Post-Crisis Needs Assessment.

It was emphasised that the PCNA should be completed as soon as possible and the meeting noted that PCNA should help address the root causes of extremism and terrorism. It was stated that the World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Balochistan was now operational which would facilitate funding for projects in areas affected by terrorism, militancy and extremism.

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