KARACHI - About 13 billion dollars are expected to be invested in power sector till 2015 in Pakistan, said Raja Pervez Ashraf, Federal Minister for Water and Power. The huge investment is expected from the private sector and government will support the sector in their efforts, says Ashraf at the seminar regarding "Energy Trade in South Asia: Prospects and Challenges for Regional Integration" held in Karachi on Monday. The region was facing severe challenges and one of the major challenges was the power generation and consumption. This also has a bearing upon our country since we are also badly affected by these energy crises. He further pointed out that there was a huge gap between demand and supply. "When we took over, the deficiency of electricity was 3500 to 4000 MWs and 8 hours load-shedding was the demand of time to solve the crisis. This problem was not our created but we inherited this menace," said the minister. He said that the affordable electricity should be generated, in order to provide balance in power generation. "Electricity is not a commodity and it can not be imported. We need to generate this utility in Pakistan but we should keep this in mind that 7 to 8 years are required for installation of any project. Even a rental project needed 7 to 8 months time," added Raja Pervez Ashraf. "In the year 2009 demand and supply of electricity will be balanced, as 1500 MWs projects will start working from next year. All the formalities are completed and bidders are now provided with the tenders," says Raja Pervez Ashraf. For our energy needs in 2010, planning should be started from now on. SAARC is important for regional ties and our region needs cooperation. 1/5 of the population lives in this region. The cooperation in energy generation sector will improve the situation in the region. We are planning to go to central Asian countries to import electricity. 1100 MWs energy from Iran is to be imported for Balochistan. At that moment the minister also pointed out to the fact that the problems highlighted by FPCCI would be taken up to the appropriate people by the minister. He further added that the Letter of Interest (LOI) have been issued the companies interested in alternate energy production. The Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) has given the support and assurance from the government. He then announced that the companies which have done nothing for power generation after getting LOI, will loss their LOI. He also announced that one windmill will start its production from next month and Turkish company has carried out the project. Tariq Sayeed, President SAARC CCI, Tanvir A. Sheikh, President FPCCI, Dr. A.K.M.A Quader, Professor of chemical engineering from University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) Bangladesh, Dr. Romeo Pacudan, senior advisor, AEDB-GTZ-BMZ, Prof Dr. Rafique Ahmad Khan, Prof of Economics also addressed to the seminar and give their views about the energy condition prevailing in the South Asian region. All the dignitaries expressed their heartily desire for cooperation in energy trade in the SAARC region.