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SCCI, Punjab businesses agree to invest in Thar coal project

The Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and the Punjab business community have agreed to formulate a joint Punjab Businessmen Consortium to invest in the Thar coal project to cope with the energy crisis.

They made this joint announcement after a three-hour important meeting held at the auditorium of SCCI on Saturday. Dr Samar Mubarakmand, member Science and Technology, Planning Commission of

Pakistan, was the chief guest. SCCI president Naeem Anwar Qureshi chaired the meeting, while the presidents of Punjab Chambers of Commerce and Industry also attended the meeting.

“We all the chambers of commerce and industry in Punjab would soon formulate a Punjab Business Consortium, which would jointly invest in the Thar coal project that could help in producing cheaper sui gas, electricity, diesel, methanol and fertilisers in the country, besides enabling the Punjab’s business community to curb the energy crisis of the country,” said Naeem Anwar.

SCCI hosted the meeting, in which all the chambers of commerce and industry in Punjab extended their full support to Dr Samar Mubarakmand for completing all the projects of alternative energy promotion, which were incomplete due to paucity of funds.

Dr Samar Mubarakmand said that the country was in dire need of promoting alternative energy to curb the energy crisis. He asked the Punjab’s business community to come forward and invest in the Thar coal project, adding that there were bright opportunities for private investors in the project.

He alleged that the Thar Coal Energy Board had adopted delaying tactics and were creating hurdles in the way of private investment in the project.

Dr Samar Mubarakmand disclosed that the project of establishing 100 megawatts Thar coal project had been lying incomplete due to paucity of funds, adding that the total cost of the project was 115.6 million dollars out of which the federal government had yet to provide 10.9 million dollars.

Later, they also announced a joint declaration of the meeting in which they urged the federal government to ensure early release of the needed funds for the Thar project, equal distribution of electricity and sui gas and equal outages of power and gas in all the provinces, exemption of the industry from all the additional taxes and levies on the utility bills till the end

of power outages. They extended full support to the Punjab Sales Tax on Services Act, 2012, in this regard.

They vowed to take some effective measures on emergency grounds to pull the Sialkot industry from the persisting crisis, stressing to evolve a joint strategy in active collaboration with all the chambers of commerce and industry of the country.It was also stressed during the meeting that the communication gap between private and public sectors should be reduced to give a boost to business and industrial activities.

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