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GE could be the leading investor in Pakistan

Nabil Habayeb, President and CEO of General Electric (GE)’s Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region sits down with The News to discuss the country’s energy infrastructure, solutions to the energy crisis and the role GE plays in Pakistan.

Based in Dubai, Nabil Habayeb is responsible for developing and expanding the growth of GE’s different businesses across the region.

Q. How long has GE been operating in Pakistan and in which sectors?

A. GE has been active in Pakistan for over 60 years. We sold the first steam turbine power generator to Pakistan in 1964 and another in 1966. GE has been expanding since then and now we have our offices in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

We are working in various sectors with a prime focus on power generation, oil and gas, aviation, energy and health sectors. At present, GE employs 100 personnel directly and 300 indirectly in Pakistan.

Q. What is GE’s contribution in the renewable energy sector of Pakistan?

A. The alternate/renewable energy sector is big for us and we are already contributing in establishing a couple of wind power generation farms in Sindh that would generate around 400MW in a couple of years. Pakistan has an excellent wind corridor and immense wind power generation potential.

Q. What can Pakistan do to overcome the energy crisis?

A. Pakistan is braving a huge scarcity of electric power as the gap between demand and supply is hovering around 5,000MW.The private sector should come forward in building and developing infrastructure and the government must support the private sector.

There is a strong willingness on the part of the government and the private sector to solve this issue. The government is eager to move fast in this direction and the private sector is eager to participate. I hope things will improve.

Q. How can GE help Pakistan in streamlining its transmission and distribution system?

A. The country’s transmission and distribution system needs to be improved; grid unavailability is a big problem. GE is a technology-based company and provides solutions. Yes, we can help Pakistan in improving its system.

The line losses are the biggest problem faced by Pakistan’s electricity system and the government should focus on this with the installation of new grids.

Q. Have you discussed proposals and recommendations with the government?

A. Our clients include both the government and the private sector and we always discuss how we can help the country as we are in involved in everything from solutions for energy supply, infrastructure building, transportation, healthcare etc.

Q. What are GE’s future investment plans for Pakistan?

A. Every business requires a return on investment and consistency of policies in order to invest. We are not afraid to come and invest in Pakistan but with the right partner, right returns and predictable risks.

And if these factors are available, GE would be the leading investor in Pakistan. We believe in investing in people and localization. All of our staff in Pakistan consists of Pakistanis as we believe local people are eager to make a difference.

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