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Investment in coal gasification projects sought

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has asked the caretaker government to encourage private sector investment in coal gasification projects, which offer one of the most versatile and clean ways to produce electricity, a statement said.

LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that 175 billion tons of Thar coal reserves could provide long-term energy security to Pakistan. “Several thousand megawatts of energy is being derived in Russia, Central Asian states, Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China and South Africa from underground coal gasification,” he said. “In view of power generation and energy demand, the rich coal reserves of Thar not only promise energy independence for Pakistan but also offer lots of opportunities for prospective investors.”

He added that the current energy crisis is causing losses of Rs230 billion and 400,000 jobs every year. “It is a matter of concern that industrial units are being shifted to other countries,” he said. “Capital flight can lead to further economic aggravation.” He said that coal gasification offers the most effective solution to energy shortages, which have jolted the country’s economic base.

He added that the private sector is engine of growth but it would be unable to give results if it would not be provided with an enabling environment.

“The government should understand that unemployment and industrial closures give birth to lawlessness. Therefore, the government should reset its priorities regarding provision of electricity to the industry,” he said. “Pakistan has already lost a number of global markets because of acute gas and electricity shortages.”

He added that cheaper and uninterrupted power supply is the only way to achieve economic growth, therefore the government should announce incentives to encourage investment in coal gasification projects.

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