ISLAMABAD - A meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Friday afternoon gave final touches to a new national energy policy, which he said would turn out to be a ‘panacea to Pakistan’s energy ills’.

The meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office analysed threadbare the draft of the policy, which envisages reducing electricity generation cost and transmission losses, signing new agreements to import energy from Turkmenistan and India, and continuing import of electricity from Iran.

It targets immediate clearing of the circular debt, making payments for furnace oil within 60 days, increasing electricity generation to 26,800MW, reducing average electricity rates by more than 30 per cent, achieving zero loadshedding in three years. Priority would be given to the construction of hydal, coal and biogas power projects, while huge public and private investment in the energy sector would be encouraged.

According to it, the supply of gas to CNG sector would be stopped in phases and more gas would be provided to power sector. The new policy, shortly to be announced by the prime minister himself, also involves increase in the price of gas, though luckily the domestic consumers would be let off this price surge.

Informed sources said the prime minister approved the energy policy during the meeting and decided to take all federating units on board. He directed the ministry of water and power to cut line losses as well as expedite the process of recovering outstanding bills from provinces and government institutions.

Addressing the meeting, Nawaz said the people and the economy have suffered badly at the hands of crippling power crisis and it is high time that prudent and consistent policies were pursued to come out of this morass.

The meeting discussed various projects of power production from coal. The prime minister was briefed on new power projects of solar energy by water and power ministry and other stakeholders. The premier said that foreign companies had been asked to start work on projects forthwith.

Those who attended the meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office included Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Information Minister Pervez Rashid, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Special advisor to PM Dr Musaddiq Malik, Shaukat Fayaz A Tarin and stakeholders from private and public sector.

Last week, Water and Power Minister Khwaja Asif announced that a new energy policy would be announced soon. He said that 600-700 MW more hydel power is expected in the national grid and the government is working on a roadmap to ensure equitable loadshedding as directed by the Supreme Court.