Federal Minister for Finance Mohammad Ishaq Dar on Monday said that the circular debt, which was adversely affecting energy production, had virtually been settled by the present government by paying Rs 480 billion to the power producing entities as the remaining Rs 23 billion were the claims pending settlement. “A small amount would be however, withheld pending clearance and this measure, had not only resulted in addition of 1700MW in the national grid but also buoyed foreign investors, who are now looking forward to make investments in the energy sector in Pakistan”, he added.

Ishaq Dar was talking to a Malaysian delegation led by Dr Mohammad Emir Amvani Abdullah, CEO Felda Global Centures Holdings Berhad, which called on him here in Islamabad at his office.

During the meeting they held in-depth discussions to explore ways and means to further expand trade and economic relations between the two countries. “The existing volume of trade between the two countries is not commensurate to their close brotherly relations,” the minister observed.

Assuring the Malaysian delegation of all possible cooperation and facilitation, Ishaq Dar said,” You will find it forthcoming whenever and wherever it is required.”

Recalling his meetings with former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahateer Mohammad, Dar praised him for his vision for the Ummah and inspiring leadership.

He informed the delegation that Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif would soon unfold an energy policy, envisaging additional power generation at affordable prices.

The policy, he said, would address the present skewed energy mix, which was at the core of the present energy crisis facing the country. “We plan to double the power generation in the country in the next five years”, said the Finance Minister.

Ishaq Dar said that the conclusion of a programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had sent very positive signals to the financial world, which had welcomed the measures taken by the government  for stabilizing the economy and creating an investor-friendly climate.

This IMF programme, the minister said, would provide comfort to the investors and enhance their confidence in the economy of Pakistan.

Dar regretted that a handful of speculators were trying to play with the Pakistani currency for small personal gains and jeopardizing the country’s interests.

Dr. Mohammad Emir, speaking on the occasion, said there were tremendous business opportunities in Pakistan and Malaysia was willing to make investments and looking at it as a spring board for re-export to Central Asia and Africa.

The Malaysian delegation included Dr. Mohammad Emir Amwani Abdullah, CEO, Dato Khairil Anuar Hj Azikz, Group Chief Operating Officer and Azman Bin Ahmed, Vice President/CEO Felda Johore Bulkers, The Finance Minister was assisted by the senior officials of the Finance Ministry.