Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has urged the World Bank to assist Sindh government for low-cost power generation.

“We have one of the largest coal reserves in the world, enough to meet our energy requirements for centuries. What we want is your help to generate environmen-friendly coal-fired energy in the province,” he said while talking to World Bank Country Director Illango Patchamuthu who called on him at the CM House Monday. Senior Minister for Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah, CM’s Principal Secretary Alamuddin Bullo, Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Aijaz Ali Khan, Secretary Finance Sohail Rajput were also present on the occasion.

The chief minister urged the World Bank to finance coal-fired power generation in Sindh.

The World Bank representative said that the bank has stopped funding coal-fired power generation for certain reasons such as environmental issues. The chief minister reminded him that the World Bank was financing coal-fired power generation in South Africa and therefore the World Bank must consider our request,” he urged.

Syed Qaim Ali Shah also said that the World Bank could also help Sindh government in acquiring new technology to generate environment-friendly and cheap coal-fired energy. On this, World Bank Country Director Mr Illago assured that he would talk to his management to help Sindh government in this regard.

Senior Minister for Finance & Energy Syed Murad Ali Shah said that presently, World Bank was providing support in different projects of agriculture sector. Rs112,360 million Sindh Agriculture Growth Project was worth mentioning, he added. He said that another World Bank project of Rs30,139.75 million “Sindh Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Enhancement Project” was to be launched shortly and it would be completed by 2020-1.

ACS (Dev) Aijaz Ali Khan said that the irrigated agriculture productivity project includes community water infrastructure improvement and mitigation of flood risks. He also said that another World Bank assisted project in the pipeline is a Rs500 million Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture Project. It is aimed at improving the quality and diversity of diets through nutrition sensitive agriculture.

The chief minister said that agriculture sector has substantial role in reducing nutrition gap. “But it is stagnant on different counts, including retardation of soil fertility, old fashioned cultivation practices and lack of cropping zoning and diversification,” he said and added landless, small landownership and sharecropping have seriously affected this situation.

Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah also urged the World Bank Country Director in Pakistan to help Sindh to explore the avenues of overseas employment opportunities for skilled youth. “Under Benazir Youth Development Programme we are impart training to our youth in 70 different trades. If a chunk of our skilled youth is provided with overseas employment opportunities it would be a great help to reduce our burden and shape up their career,” he said.

The chief minister thanked World Bank country chief for showing his interest in the development of Sindh and extending helping hand to Sindh government.

World Bank Country director Illango Patchamuthu, a Sri Lankan national, said that after taking over as country chief in Pakistan it was his first meeting with any chief minister. This shows how much importance he and his bank was giving to Sindh.

Earlier, Illango held a detailed meeting with Secretary Agriculture Shahid Gulzar Shaikh and discussed the ongoing and in-pipeline projects.