Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Sunday said that the government was according top priority to resolve the energy issue as it was key to overall economic progress in the country.

The minister was chairing a special briefing session regarding Energy and Infrastructure Active Portfolio, said a press release. Secretary Economic Affairs Divison (EAD) Saleem Sethi apprised the minister that a number of energy projects were being undertaken to resolve problem of electricity shortage.

He said total $18,783.6 million was allocated for ongoing power sector projects that would make a major contribution towards alleviating power shortage.

The bulk of the energy projects were being undertaken by the Ministry of Water and Power, of which 16 were for power generation, nine for transmission and five for power distribution while four projects were to be completed under the aegis of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). In regard to infrastructure projects under the National Highway Authority (NHA), he said there were 11 ongoing loan projects on which $1.24 billion had been incurred out of total loan amount of $2.13 billion.

 The remaining $890 million, he said, would be incurred in about two and a half years. The National Trade Corridor Highway Sector Development programme, National Highway sector development programme, National Trade Corridor Highway Investment, Khanewal-Multan Motorway project and Malakand tunnel project were the prominent loan projects. To a Finance Minister’s query regarding grant projects, he said these included post-flood rehabilitation project of NHA road network, Kalat-Quetta-Chaman highway, Peshawar-Torkham Road rehabilitation and other programmes. He said there were eight grant projects under NHA with grant of $360 million and as of December 2014, $215 million had been utilised. The minister appreciated EAD’s active coordination with the donors and funding agencies for important projects in the country.  He also praised the detailed presentation which fully highlighted the status of utilisation of funds by executing agencies and EAD’s continued liaison with them.

Projects to get $52 billion

 investment in five years

Executive Director Pakistan-China Institute Mustafa Hyder Sayed said on Sunday “$52 billion have been pledged for many infrastructural projects in Pakistan, out of which, $32 billion is to be exclusively spent on energy projects in the next five years”.

“If this materialises, Pakistan will become one of the largest recipients of Chinese outbound Investment”, this he said while speaking at the second day of 6th International Maritime Conference on “Maritime Economy, Environment, and Security Co-operation: Bringing the West Pacific and the Indian Ocean Closer”. The event is being organised by National Centre for Maritime Policy Research (NCMPR), in collaboration with Pakistan Navy, an official press release said here.

The second day of the Conference began with the security session, in which Zhiyong Hu from China, Rear Admiral (Retd) Dr. Rakesh Chopra from India, Rear Admiral J J Ranasinghe from Sri Lanka and Prof. Sikander Ahmed Shah of LUMS presented their papers.  Former Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral (retd) Shahid Karimullah was the guest of honour. During the Trade and Economy session, Commodore (Retd) Syed M Obaidullah talked about Indo-Pacific as a Super Maritime Region of the 21st Century. Whereas, Dr. Azhar Ahmad shed light on the Gwadar- Kashgar Corridor and its Impact on the Region.  The oceans are vital for security and economic life of the littoral states. But at the same time it is each state’s responsibility to safeguard the oceans and the marine life. Keeping this in view, the day’s final session highlighted the environmental aspects of the Indo-Pacific region. Federal Secretary, Climate Change Division, Arif Ahmed Khan was invited as guest of honour.

Chief Meteorologist, Dr. Ghulam Rasul, discussed the socio-economic impacts of increasing tendency of typhoons and cyclones. Whereas, Dr.Yimin Ye from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters gave a comparison of Fisheries Management between the Northwest Pacific and the West Indian Ocean regions. Director NCMPR Captain (retd) Tariq Masood, talked about the ship breaking industry of Pakistan and how it can be made environmentally safe. Foreign delegates, local dignitaries, government officials, experts of maritime sector, academia and naval personnel were in attendance on second day of the International Maritime Conference held at Karachi.