ISLAMABAD -  The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday expressed satisfaction about the present government’s

power policy and hoped that Pakistan would be able to overcome loadshedding in the country by 2018.

“Yes I am hopeful that Pakistan can eliminate loadshedding by 2018 but the government is required to continue its effort to meet the goal,” said ADB Country Head Werner E Liepach while talking to a group of journalists here.

Regarding the government’s power policy, he said that it was a mixed picture but things were moving in the right direction. The capacity had been increased and the conditions had improved during the past few years, he said.

Replying to a query about the federal government’s decision to bring regulatory bodies, particularly NEPRA, under the line ministries, he said that he supported the independent regulatory regime. However, he said that NEPRA was still independent in its decisions. The country director of ADB said that they favoured an independent regulatory regime, which protected the interest of the end consumer. He said that “as a regulator you cannot please everyone or the government however the effective, efficient and independent regulatory regime helps the end consumer”.

Werner said that so far the ADB had approved $3 billion for the energy sector and during the past four years $1 billion was disbursed for the purpose. He said that they were providing $400 million for smart metering, which would improve efficiency of the companies.

Regarding the government postponement of the privatisation of the DisCos, he said that ADB had asked for privatisation as it would increase efficiency, help reduce the circular debt and bring investment. Since the privatisation of the DisCos has not happened therefore the circular debt has increased, he added.

If you have efficient entities you can easily attract the investors, ADB’s country head said. IESCO, LESCO and FESCO are some of the efficient companies and it’s easy to attract investment, he added. There are governance issues but the private investors have inherited interest in efficiency. He said that privatisation of K-Electric had been a success story. Now you go and ask the people in Karachi they are satisfied with the services and think the situation is better than the previous one.

Regarding progress on a Jamshoro power plant, he said, “I am disappointed with the progress of Jamshoro plan but it’s a slow process. It involves loans and it’s got delayed for the sake of transparency.” However, he said, the bidding process would be completed soon and the project would be started this calendar year. He said the Bank had approved $900 million for the project and would disburse it when all formalities are completed.

 

 

Fawad Yousafzai