LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that due to the wrong policies and negligence of former rulers, the country as well as the nation is facing the energy crisis, adding the PML-N government, soon after coming to power, took steps to ameliorate the power situation and economy side.

He said the duration of loadshedding had come down considerably as the government retired circular debt to the tune Rs 480 billion. “It is also due to the steps taken by the governmental that foreign companies are keen to carry out power generation projects in Pakistan,” he claimed.

The CM said this while talking to Li Ren Chao, chairman, China Western Power Company, who along with his delegation met Shahbaz at the Chief Minister’s Office on Saturday. Promotion of cooperation in energy sector was discussed in detail during the meeting. The China Western Power Company chairman evinced keen interest in launching energy projects from coal and solid waste.

The chief minister disclosed that work was underway on the projects to generate energy through coal at Gadani and Port Qasim. He added work was also going on in Punjab for generating energy from coal, solar, biomass and biogas.

The chief minister said the Punjab government had planned to set up coal power plants of 100 megawatts each in Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan whereas planning had also been made to set up coal power plant of 1,000mw in Sahiwal.

Li Ren Chao remarked that the people of Pakistan pinned have high hopes on the PML-N government while the Punjab CM was making sincere efforts to generate energy. He assured him his company would help Pakistan in energy sector by launching projects for generating electricity from coal and solid waste. Separately, Canadian High Commissioner Greg Giokas called on Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif here on Saturday and exchanged views on the matters of mutual interest and promotion of bilateral relations.

On the occasion, the chief minister expressed the resolve of the PML-N government to meet the challenges facing the country for which sincere efforts were made. He also pointed out special incentives had been given by the government to the foreign investors interested in energy and other development sectors in the country. He stressed the need for enhancing mutual trade between Pakistan and Canada. The CM said that Pakistan wanted trade and not aid from the world.

The CM thanked the Canadian government for its support on the GSP-Plus status for Pakistan and said that after this status, textile exports of the country would increase substantially, creating new jobs and enhancing pace of economic development. The Canadian high commissioner highlighted importance of strong democratic system for solving problems of Pakistan. He also assured cooperation of his government with Pakistan in energy and other social sectors. He said the economic condition of Pakistan would improve after the GSP Plus status.

Meanwhile, Ms Jacqueline Novogratz, chief executive officer of an international NGO, Acumen Fund, called on Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif here on Saturday. During the meeting, both agreed to enhance cooperation between the Punjab government and the Fund for bringing improvement in the social sector.

On this occasion, the CM shed light on various development projects of his government and said the government was pursuing a comprehensive and revolutionary programme to raise the living standard of less privileged segments of the society.

Jacqueline Novogratz said the Fund wanted to work jointly with the Punjab government for the development of social sector. She said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had taken very impressive steps for the uplift of social sector in the province.