ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday reiterated his commitment to eliminate loadshedding with the help of new power generation projects by 2017.
"The government is building three major gas-based power plants, and by 2017, when the new plants come online, we expect to end loadshedding in Pakistan," the prime minister said while addressing the Pakistan Investment Conference.
He said that the government is not only working to eliminate existing loadshedding but also aiming at laying foundations of a robust energy sector that will meet the country's needs for the next two decades.
Nawaz Sharif vowed to take Pakistan into a high growth economy in the next few years.
"Help me build this Pakistan by investing in it and making huge profits that are bound to come your way", the prime minister asked more than 600 investors including 238 foreigners from 29 countries.
He assured the investors that the government would extend all possible assistance in business enterprise in Pakistan.
Talking about the popularity of the government, he said that results of recent by-elections and local elections indicate that the people of Pakistan do acknowledge and appreciate reforms introduced by the incumbent government.
He said that the Pakistani nation has once and for all decided that its future lies in liberal democracy, where the private sector thrives and no one is left behind.
On China Pakistan Economic Corridor, the Prime Minister said that the $46 billion CPEC would help ending power outages in Pakistan, and ensuring seamless connectivity between China, South Asia and Central Asia.
The government has planned to set-up around 25 industrial zones along the three routes of the corridor, providing thousands of jobs to our people, he added.
Talking about the economic achievement, Sharif informed investors that the government has brought down the fiscal deficit to 5.
5 percent from 8.
8 percent due to politically difficult measures, including increasing the Sales tax from 16 to 17 percent.
He maintained that non-salary government expenditures had been slashed by 30 percent and of Prime Minister's Office by 40 percent.
Inflation rate has been brought down at below 2 percent in September and interest rates at a historic low.
"Pakistan's economic turnaround has been duly noticed and acknowledged by credit rating agencies like Standard & Poor, Moody and Fitch, as well as respected publications like Forbes and the Economist".
Nawaz Sharif pointed out that the government's policy revolves around the elimination of terrorism, an end to energy crisis, economic development and promotion of education.
He said that a gas pipeline is being laid between Gwadar and Nawab Shah while an agreement had been signed with Russia to lay gas pipeline between Lahore and Karachi.
Projects like Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and CASA 1000 will also bring energy in the system and promote regional connectivity, he remarked.
Nawaz Sharif said significant progress has been made in controlling extremism and terrorism.
Zarb-e-Azb operation has yielded positive results, he said.
He further said that Pakistan desires peace within and outside its borders.
He reiterated the desire to have friendly relations with all the neighbors and the world at large for sustainable development.
The government, he said, also settled the Rs480 billion circular debt issue soon after coming into power.
Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Defence and Water and Power Khawaja Asif said that Pakistan's army has cleared the militant occupied area of the country in just one and half years what the NATO forces could not achieve in 14 years in Afghanistan despite unmatchable resources.
He said that the backbone of terrorists has been broken thanks to Zarb-e-Azb.
He asked foreign investors to invest in Pakistan.
"The government will provide security to the foreign investors," he added.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal says CPEC project will prove to be a game changer for entire region.
He said that the CPEC project has enhanced to $50 billion from $46 billion.
He said that the government would upgrade the transmission line with cost of $6 billion.
He further said that the government would overcome energy crisis through coal and solar energy projects while the CPEC would help in addressing the power crisis.
Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that $10 billion TAPI (Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India) project would be inaugurated in December this year and will be completed in four years.
He further said that the government is also working on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.
He said that the incumbent government had brought LNG in the country and it will construct five terminals for it.
He informed that LNG would be cheaper as compare to the TAPI and IP gas.
Secretary Water and Power Younus Dagha invited foreign investors to invest in the power sector.
He informed investors that the incumbent government had introduced reforms in the power sector, which helped in reducing outages to 6-8 hours from 8-11 hours and there is zero loadshedding for the industrial sector.
The reforms also helped in reducing the line losses to 18.
2 percent from 19 percent and improve power collections to 90.
7 percent from 88.
6 percent.
Similarly, the circular debt has also been controlled, he added.
He apprised the investors that power outages would be ended by 2017 as government initiated several projects.
However, private sector has not agreed with the government that loadshedding will be eliminated by 2017.
"I do not believe loadshedding will be completely eliminated by 2017, as there will be no loadshedding in 6 months of 2017 and 3-4 hours loadshedding in remaining six months," said Nadeem Babar, Chief Executive Officer, Orient Power Company (Private) Limited.
He appreciated the government's long run policies for the power sector.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 05-Nov-2015 here.