ISLAMABAD - Prof Ahsan Iqbal, federal minister for planning, development and reforms, chaired the meeting of Steering Committee on Energy Projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Saturday.

The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Asif, Secretary Planning Hasan Nawaz Tarar, Secretary Water and Power Nargis Sethi and representatives from ministry of railways and economic affairs division.

The steering committee has been constituted by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif under the chairmanship of Ahsan Iqbal to expedite work on energy projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor on war-footing basis after the recent visit of high-level delegation led by the chief minister Punjab and federal minister for planning to China.

The meeting reviewed feasibility studies of energy projects under CPEC; demand and supply framework of ongoing and new projects; integrated plan for generation, transmission and distribution; payment modalities of power purchase agreements; curtailing power losses and integrated coal logistics plan for coal power projects.

While addressing the meeting, Ahsan Iqbal stated that CPEC is a key initiative, which will help Pakistan in meeting energy shortfall and linking it with regional economies, particularly China. He said that Chinese government is keen to pursue the CPEC and has shown trust in the government’s policies. However, he said, “We will have to deliver results according to strict timelines and work on full capacity to avail this historic window of opportunity.” Ahsan stated that during his recent visit to China along with the chief minister of Punjab, the delegation sensitised Chinese authorities to prioritise Pakistan’s energy projects. The Chinese government expressed its full commitment to help Pakistan overcome energy challenge.

The minister also shed light on the importance of Gaddani Energy Park, which has been dedicated as Pak-China Energy Park, which will be the country’s biggest energy projects with 6,600-megawatt capacity.

Ahsan stressed on integration of work to bring about synergy. He called for an integrated plan for coal logistics for energy projects and also directed the committee to address observations of Chinese authorities.

He highlighted that generation of electricity is not the only issue but transmission and distribution mechanism must also be upgraded to take electricity to consumers, as an increase in generation will overload the already overloaded transmission lines. He urged the committee members to demonstrate highest quality of work to ensure better results.

Addressing the meeting, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that this economic corridor is a golden opportunity for Pakistan. He said, “It’s now or never. We have to accept the challenge and pounce on this opportunity. History will never forgive us if we fail to do so.”

He said that everyone including politicians, bureaucrats and technocrats must come together for betterment of Pakistan and bring this country out of darkness. He shared with the committee that in the last decade energy mix of Pakistan, which was shifted to thermal energy, damaged the economy in general and energy sector in particular. He remarked, “There is no point in crying over spilt milk now. We will have to act and act fast.” He directed the authorities to complete the projects by 2017 positively. Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif informed the committee that his ministry is working on strict timelines and ensuring transparency and timely completion at all costs in projects. Progress on different energy projects under CPEC such as coal-based power projects at Gaddani, Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Park, rail projects (ML-I), and coal-based power projects at Port Qasim was discussed.

The meeting of the steering committee will be held frequently to monitor the progress of energy projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Ahsan Iqbal also constituted a working group comprising representatives from ministry of ports and shipping, ministry of water and power, Pakistan railways and ministry of planning, development and reforms to address the issues related to transportation of coal.