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ISLAMABAD: The country's business community on Wednesday has underscored the need for signing a Charter of Economy (CoE) by all political parties for taking the economy ahead and give confidence to investors.

This demand was made by Chief Executive Officer (CEO), M/s Atlas Group and Chairman Pakistan Business Council (PBC), Saqib Shirazi at a ceremony held with regard to achieving financial close of four solar projects of 150 MWcapacity.

Shah Jahan Mirza, Chief Executive Officer, AEDB executed and delivered the GoP guarantee to projects on behalf of the President of Pakistan.

The four solar power projects are bringing an investment of $ 148 million. Projects are financed at debt-equity ratio of 80:20. Nepra has approved levelized tariff of Cents 3.73/kWh for Zhenfa project and cents 3.66/kWh for Scatec projects.

M/s Zhenfa Pakistan New Energy Company Limited will establish a 100MW solar power plant at Layyah (Punjab) with Lead Arrangers HBL, CDC Investment Works. Three solar projects of 50MW each (total 150MW) - 50MW Helios Power (Pvt) Ltd, 50MW Meridian Energy (Pvt) Ltd and 50-MW HNDS Energy (Pvt) Ltd - have been sponsored by Norwegian Company Scatec and Nizam Energy Pakistan. These will be established in Sukkur (interior Sindh). The projects are expected to generate 494.427 GWh annually. Based on the available solar resource, Nepra approved 21.51% Capacity Factor for Zhenfa and 23.27% for Scatec projects.

Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, Minister for Energy (Punjab) and Managing Director PPIB also addressed the ceremony.

"If you want this country to get its legitimate position, there is a need to sign Charter of Economy with any other group (political) for sustained growth and improved economy," said Shirazi.

He further stated that the investors should be given confidence as private public partnership is the solution.

"Pakistan needs participation of public and private sectors to take it ahead as it is the responsibility of everyone," he said, adding that the country has to be supported by both the government and the private sector.

Shirazi contended that the condition of masses will not change without higher economic growth in the country.

He said the solar project is being supported by the companies of three super powers like, the USA, China and the UK.

Omar Ayub Khan, Minister for Energy, stated that this is a big step to meet the Government of Pakistan’s commitment of increasing renewable energy share in power generation by adding clean and green energy to the system. Further, the induction of lower tariff solar projects will help in reducing the overall cost of generation. He further noted that the future procurement of power from solar and wind energy projects will be through competitive bidding.

Later on addressing the post financial close signing ceremony, he said that the previous government did not pay attention towards renewable energy, adding that an amount of Rs 4 trillion can be saved with cheap generation vis-a-vis expensive generation.

He further stated that Pakistan is also discussing different options to export electricity to other countries through the CASA project.

SAPM Tabish Gauhar said that the annual financial impact of power sector's 18 per cent loss and 10 per cent less recovery is around Rs 200 billion.

He further argued that cheap electricity will help reduce circular debt. He said, the government has also revised agreements with renewable energy projects, adding that annual capacity payment of IPPs has touched Rs 850 billion.

He further stated that that it is the government's endeavour to ensure uninterrupted supply to the industry.

Talking about privatisation of Distribution Companies (Discos), he said that this task has been given to the Privatisation Commission. However, the government wants to give management contracts of companies to the private sector.

The representatives of Norwegian company M/s Scatec and Nizam Energy also addressed the ceremony and praised the government for extending cooperation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021