ISLAMABAD: There is a need to expedite the Jamshoro Power Generation Project and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) should pay special attention to it, said Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar. Speaking to ADB Vice President (Operations) Shixin Chen at the Ministry of Energy on Wednesday, he added that a pre-feasibility study for underground gas storages was expected to be completed in a year. Both sides broadly discussed the ADB’s energy program in Pakistan as well as the measures taken by the government for reforms in the sector.
The minister lauded the ADB’s support for pursuing the reform agenda and appreciated it for extending financing for various development projects in the country. He expressed satisfaction over the firm commitment given by the ADB to act as a key partner in the reform agenda in priority sectors including energy. “Various projects in the power sector are moving forward at a good pace including the Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system, which will be rolled out as a pilot scheme in the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Lesco) areas,” he said.
Officials of the ministry shared the positive progress made on the circular debt management plan for the power sector. Structural benchmarks have been met and the IMF has also shown satisfaction in this regard. Moreover, the circular debt management plan is being updated together with the approval of Subsidy Reforms Phase-II. It was decided that the ADB would work on the feasibility of buying imported coal energy plants on a baseload basis.
The ADB vice president expressed the desire to engage with the Ministry of Climate Change Policy and Azhar assured him of full support in that regard. Last month, ADB Public Management, Financial Sector, and Trade Division Director Tariq H Niazi said that the ADB was committed to supporting the implementation of structural reforms in Pakistan. In a meeting with Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin, he appreciated the efforts of the government aimed at improving the social and economic sectors.
He reviewed the progress on various ongoing projects and discussed the future schemes as well. “The ADB is pursuing the capital market development program, domestic resource mobilization program, social protection development program, and public-private partnership support program,” Niazi highlighted.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2022.