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Pakistan seeks financial closure of Dasu, CASA projects

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal met with World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani and discussed future plans of economic cooperation.

Iqbal informed Mulyani about the government’s short-, medium- and long-term plans to solve the country’s energy crisis.

Discussing the short-term solutions, Iqbal referred to quick-fix solutions such as a better distribution mechanism, better load management and tapping alternative energy sources.

In terms of medium-term plan, he said the government is working on coal-based power projects. He added that the Jamshoro Thermal Power plant will enhance energy supply with a shift from expensive imported heavy fuel oil (HFO) to less expensive high quality coal. Additionally, the Gadani Power Park on completion will house 10 imported coal-based power plants.

For the long-term, Pakistan is looking at hydropower projects such as Dasu and Diamer Bhasha Dams as potential solutions.

Iqbal discussed the World Bank’s progamme portfolio in Pakistan, stressing the need for financial closure of the Dasu Hydropower and Central Asia and South Asia (CASA) 1000 power import projects.

Furthermore, he emphasised on the need for utilising funds under the International Development Association (IDA)’s 16th cycle.

Mulyani highlighted the guidelines set by the World Bank under the IDA 17th cycle and asked the minister to ensure that they are followed. She appreciated Pakistan’s decision to approve the CASA 1000 and Dasu Hydropower projects.

At a separate event at the International Food Policy Research Institute, Iqbal spoke about Islamabad’s 2025 vision that seeks to expand economic growth on a sustainable and fast-paced trajectory.

He said that the PML-N government is determined to benefit from applied research and collaboration between public and private sectors. This focus has been called Pakistan’s strive towards a knowledge-based economy that will transform the country’s economy.

He expressed confidence that focus on human resource development, better quality of agricultural products and increased work in the science and technology field will massively increase Pakistan’s exports from the current $25 billion to $100 billion.

Iqbal shared an optimistic outlook of the Pakistani information technology sector, stating that chief executive officers from the Silicon Valley informed him that offshore operations of Pakistan are outperforming those of other countries such as India and Bangladesh.

He added that, “Knowledge is the basic driver of competitive economies, we in Pakistan have knowledge — what we need to do is create an environment where we should be able to translate knowledge into implementable programs

He said the government will encourage the introduction of syllabi that will encourage innovation and creativity amongst the youth. He also said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will attend a consultative conference with more than 1,500 experts in various fields as part of efforts to devise a comprehensive plan of action to make the economy strong.

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