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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar said 20 percent growth in demand of electricity has been witnessed during 2020-21 of which industrial demand is well above 12 percent to 13 percent.

He was talking to US Embassy Chargé d’affaires Leslie Viguerie in a call at the Power Division. Secretary Power Division Ali Raza Bhutta, US Embassy Daniel Froats Economic Counselor and other senior officials were also present during the meeting.

Hammad Azhar informed the US Embassy Chargé d’affaires that due to prudent policies and effective measures undertaken by the present government, the growth of circular debt has been reduced by Rs 200 billion this year as compared to previous year. He said once the growth is arrested it will be easy to take decisions for clearance of stock.

The federal minister also maintained that Pakistan has made approximately $800 million investment in expansion and improvement of country’s Transmission and Distribution system in two and half years which has led to record transmission of more than 4000MW this year. He said another $117 million have been earmarked for next financial year to improve the transmission and distribution system. He invited the US based companies to explore possibilities of investment in the energy market.

The federal minister said Pakistan and the United States have excellent working relations in the energy sector, which will receive a further boost with the new investor friendly policies of the present government.

While mentioning the close partnership between Power Division and USAID, the federal minister said yet another milestone for long term energy planning has been achieved with their assistance in the shape of IGCEP which is bound to address many issues relating to planning and demand assessments. He also mentioned DFC investments in renewable energy projects in Pakistan.

Hammad Azhar apprised Lesslie Viguerie that Pakistan’s new Renewable and Alternative Energy Policy has set ambitious targets to enhance the share of renewable energy up to 30 percent by the year 2030 which will have direct implications for the clean and green initiatives that Pakistan is embarked upon. He said it will not only tap indigenous energy potential but will also offer good return on investment to potential entrepreneurs.

Leslie Viguerie appreciated the government’s policy to attach preference to clean and green energy sources and said US companies are taking keen interest in the energy sector of Pakistan. He expressed confidence that the current cooperation between Pakistan and USA in the Energy Sector will further enhance.

Leslie Viguerie informed the federal minister that the effective policies of the Pakistan government to address the issues especially steps taken to arrest the growth of Circular Debt are sending positive signal to the investors.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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