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Palm cultivation, oil extraction: Private sector keen to invest in Thatta: Wahab

KARACHI: Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister on Law, Environment, Climate Change & Coastal Development Barrister...
21 Nov 2020

KARACHI: Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister on Law, Environment, Climate Change & Coastal Development Barrister Murtaza Wahab has said that private sector is taking keen interest to invest in palm cultivation and oil extraction in Thatta after the unprecedented success of a pilot project under which first time ever in the history of agriculture economy of the country a provincial government with its own meagre resources not only initiated the referred project but successfully started producing indigenous palm oil through its own small scale mill.

Speaking at a press conference in the Committee Room of Sindh Assembly on Friday here Wahab said that samples of palm oil produced in maiden production are being forwarded to different interested parties and very soon nation would hear the good news of formal offers by local and foreign investors to establish palm oil mills in Thatta.

He said that earlier experts have already tested and certified that palm fruits produced in Thatta are not lesser in quality than the high quality of such species which are being produced anywhere around the world. In view of this it has the potential of market penetration once its production is started at the large scale with the joint efforts of both public and private sectors.

He further said that the milestone of production of indigenous palm by the Sindh government is another feather in its cap besides several other success stories in the past out of which Thar Coal has already widely been acclaimed as one of the historical achievement of exploration of idle stock of an important fossil fuel to meet the country's energy requirements.

Sharing the success of PPP government in project management, he said that the Sindh Government had first initiated the Thar coal project in 1993 but a few elders had raised questions and expressed concerns over it but the project was completed. It not only introduced the world's sixth largest coal reserves but also improved the quality of coal.

Talking about the success of the palm pilot project, he said the federal government has been talking about reducing the import bill of the country since long in which three to four billion dollars is spent annually on palm oil import. On the other hand believing in pragmatism, the Sindh government's Environment Department pointed out a place at Kathor appropriate for palm tree plantation and planted the crop on 50 acres. When we sought the opinion of experts about its fruit, they declared it to be of world standard. Subsequently Sindh Cabinet approved the construction of a palm mill in Thatta for production of palm oil.

"Now the mill has started working and the private sector is also taking interest in it. We have proved that this crop can be grown in Pakistan as well. This project will be a game changer not only for Thatta, Sindh but for the whole of Pakistan," he added. He further said that Sindh Cabinet has allocated additional 1600 acres of land and more palm oil trees will be planted on this land.

He invited the media to inspect this place to make a difference between who is delivering on ground and who is building castles in the air. He said that the financial problems being faced by the Sindh Government have an impact on its development projects. The money we get from the NFC helps meet the targets. When these are not met, targets are not met. "The biggest reason for the financial difficulties facing Pakistan is the incompetence of the federal government," he added.

He regretted that since the federal government came in to power, their target was tax collection of five trillion rupees but so far three trillion could have been collected. He expressed surprise that how can federal government ministers say no one can point a finger at them and added that aren't people looking at flour, sugar and medicine scandals? Sindh government has financial difficulties and despite the difficulties we work wherever we can.

"Twice the drug scandal came to light. The moral crisis is before you. They say our Prime Minister is handsome. The Prime Minister goes around in a helicopter and says he doesn't use protocol. There has never been a government in the history of Pakistan that lives in a capsule bubble," he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020