Govt opens wallet to arrest power crisis
31 May, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday directed the Finance Ministry to urgently release Rs 1.5 billion to WAPDA to settle the remaining claims of the independent power producers (IPPs).
The prime minister also hinted at ending power outages upon the completion of various power projects in the country.
He was presiding over a meeting of the Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) to review progress on the private power projects and their future portfolio with a view to increase power generation.
Gilani said that the government was committed to resolving the prevalent energy crisis and achieving energy security for the country.
He said that in 1993, the Energy Task Force was formed by then premier Benazir Bhutto, which led to formulation of 1994 Power Policy and then constitution of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB), with the purpose to serve as a 'one window' facilitator.
The prime minister said that when the government took over in 2008 the country was facing a demand-and-supply gap of more than 5,000MW during peak hours.
He said that sensing the magnitude of the challenge, the government made efforts to improve the situation, despite various challenges.
The prime minister said that the IPPs had always played a pivotal role in developing power sector.
"It is evident from the fact that presently there are 28 IPPs providing reliable power in the country," Gilani added.
He said further the country's power sector was presently facing a wide demand- and-supply gap, which had necessitated enhancement of generation capacity as well as related infrastructure. He also said that , huge investments are required in order to meet future power requirements in the country.
He directed officials concerned to form a committee consisting of the Planning Commission deputy chairman and the finance, economic affairs and water and power secretaries should be set up to facilitate the simplification of procedures aimed at attracting private sector investment in the energy sector.
The WAPDA chairman told the meeting that the Mangla Dam would be full up to its capacity for the first time after completion of Mangla Wall-Raising Project. He said that the project would not only make 2.9MAF more water available making a contribution of Rs 18 billion per annum to the country's economy.
The PM lauded various initiatives by the PPIB such as guidelines for fast track implementation of hydropower projects; proposed 'policy regimes' to convert IPPs/GENCOs on cheaper fuels; proposed mechanism to improve availability as well as efficiency of public sector generation companies.
While giving presentation, the PPIB managing director said that 28 projects with a capacity of 8000MW have been installed in the country. The prime minister ordered the Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry to make arrangements for release of provision of gas to power plants, which are currently in operation.
Gilani also underscored the urgency of creating fund for projects in the private sector on an analogy of a similar fund created in 1994 during the tenure of then premier and slain PPP chairwoman Benazir Bhutto.
Water and Power Minister Naveed Qamar, Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Nadeemul Haq and other senior officials of relevant ministries also attended the meeting.