ISLAMABAD  - Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday directed the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) to finalise fresh applications for determination of power tariff within 60 days and dispose of all pending cases within 45 days.

This direction was given by the Prime Minister during a briefing by Board of Investment (BoI) on investment portfolios and restructuring of BoI as “One Window Operation” here.

The Prime Minister, in his opening remarks, said that Pakistan is endowed with rich material and human resources. “What is needed that each one of us should perform his allocated duties with missionary spirit”, he emphasized.

The Prime Minister said that the BoI should formulate a policy and suggest a suitable structure and mechanism with a view to convince the investor that Pakistan is his destination of choice. He said that there is a need to comfort the foreign investor and ensure that time-lines are met.

The Prime Minister said that the country needs to add to the existing generation capacity and therefore, a potential investor must be provided every incentive in order to reduce the gap between supply and demand.

He said there is a need to simplify and make attractive policies to attract foreign investment in the power sector. In this connection, he emphasized that the determination of upfront tariff by NEPRA can play a critical role in facilitating foreign direct investment in this sector. The Prime Minister said that, in case, NEPRA needs additional technical expertise for speedy determination of tariff, it can even hire foreign experts. The role of regulator, he said, should be to encourage investment. He said that NEPRA needs to do some in-depth analysis and come up with recommendations encompassing legal, structural and administrative areas so that the present difficulties being faced by investors in getting a reasonable tariff could be resolved.

He also directed the NEPRA Chairman to determine upfront tariff for power sector projects in Balochistan on priority basis.

The Prime Minister appreciated the NEPRA for determining upfront tariff for wind power projects and expressed the confidence that they will endeavour to determine upfront tariff for solar, hydel and coal projects as well.

Secretary Board of Investment Anjum Rasheed apprised the Prime Minister that due to the efforts of BOI, foreign investors were now ready to make investment in various sectors including power sector, petroleum, automobiles, gas and construction. Regarding the LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) Terminal, the Prime Minister was apprised that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources is in the process of floating the tender.

The Prime Minister was briefed that the mega project of Centaurus in the Islamabad is near completion and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has made payment and demarcated land for the grid station. Arrangements for the provision of gas are also in the process.

Regarding the Mahl Hydropower project of 59 MW, the Prime Minister was informed that Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) would be considering the approval of the project in the next Board meeting. The Prime Minister was told that presently, the BoI is negotiating with investors of Suki Kinari Hydropower project, Karot Hydropower project and Patrind Hydropower project, which are at different stages of negotiations.

The Prime Minister was also informed that the Korean investors had already started work on Patrind Hydropower Project, whose financial closure is expected by December 2012 while the project itself will be completed in December 2017.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Science and Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Minister for Water and Power Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Advisor on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain, Minister of State for Commerce Abbas Khan Afridi, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Nadeem-ul-Haq, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, secretaries Cabinet, Finance, Economic Affairs Division and Information, CDA Chairman, NEPRA Chairman, WAPDA Chairman, MD PPIB and other senior government officials.