ISLAMABAD: Planning Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar has said Pakistan would negotiate with China on affordable electricity, including the proposal of constructing Bunji Dam with a capacity of 7,000 megawatts of electricity.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, talking about energy requirement in Pakistan Khusro Bakhtiyar said, “Efforts are being made for affordable electricity to strengthen the economy.”
He has vowed to take China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to new heights in coming days.
He dispelled the impression that the CPEC projects had hit a snag as all projects under the corridor were intact and streamlined. He said in energy sector, projects of about 4,300 megawatt were under construction and of 2,500 megawatt were under planning.
The minister said that the concessional agreement of 2016 was taken because of which 19 Chinese Companies were ready to invest in Gwadar.
He said a project of 300 megawatt of electricity had been completed in Gwadar, while grid connectivity was being ensured there to provide uninterrupted power supply.
He said the prime minister inaugurated Gwadar airport in March this year and the federal government had also finalized the Gwadar Master Plan with the Balochistan government.
Commenting on steel sector, the minister said Pakistan’s current import bill in scrap and steel sector stood at two billion dollars and government’s entire focus was on enhancing domestic production to curtail the import bill in this sector.
He said Pakistan’s total steel production was about four million tons, whereas its requirement was about nine million tons which would likely to increase as the economy grew.
Keeping in view, he said, Pakistan will seek China’s cooperation in enhancing capacity of Pakistan Steel Mills from existing one million to three million tons to meet the future demand of the commodity.
He said this will certainly reduce Pakistan’s import bill in the steel sector.
On oil and gas sector, Khusro Bakhtiyar said the government will negotiate with Chinese side to enhance capacity of Pakistan’s refineries to reduce our import bill up to 1.5 bill dollars in this field.
In addition, we are going to propose a land based Liquefied Natural Gas project, which would enhance gas production capacity up to one billion cubic feet.
Khusro Bakhtiyar said the government was trying to complete the eastern corridor of the CPEC by the end of this year. “We are also working on the western route,” he maintained.
He said ML-1 project, which had been lying in the cold storage for last five years, would be formally taken up with Chinese authorities to revamp railways network in Pakistan. Regarding agriculture, the minister said, “We are going to formally negotiate a comprehensive framework in the agriculture sector, proposing projects costing 200 million dollars under business to business cooperation.”
He said fisheries and shrimp farming would be developed along the coastal belt under this framework.
Highlighting the industry incentives, the minister said government was focusing on making the special economic zones functional and a business council has been formed to ensure joint ventures with China to increase Pakistan’s industrial landscape.
He stressed the need on technology transfer from China to Pakistan.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his upcoming visit to China, will emphasise on giving a central place to science and technology transfer and human development.