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LCCI to approach federation over Punjab’s energy woes

While addressing a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Tuesday, Federal Minister of Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Shah and Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting Qamar uz Zaman Kaira gave assurance to the businessmen in Punjab to plead their case in view of the energy crisis with the federation. Furthermore, they also said that political differences have nothing to do with the crisis in provinces.

Both the federal ministers visited the LCCI over the invitation of LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar.

“The government has planned to offer five-year term soft loans to the industry for establishing coal-fired turbines, which would help to generate up to 4,000 MW of electricity,” said Syed Khurshid Shah.

He believes that the oil mafia has been obstructing the energy projects, as power generation from local resources would decline the oil import bill by $27 billion annually. Shah further added that no country in the world is in a position to produce electricity from such an expensive fuel. “The government is working on 20,000 MW long-term hydel power projects to overcome the energy crisis and the country would have ample electricity by 2015,” he said. On the issue of providing sovereign guarantees for new power projects, he said that the federal government is ready to provide guarantees to investors, however, for this to materialise the Punjab government would have to take initiative. According to Shah, the ruling PPP government was not responsible for the energy crisis and he urged the business community to ask the chief minister of Punjab to form a commission to identify the root causes of the crisis and then tackle them.

“The government was well aware of the problems faced by the business community due to electricity and gas shortages but it was unable to do anything overnight,” he said.

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