- Shehbaz says low-cost power supply is inevitable to make Pakistan's exports competitive
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday launched a Rs377 billion “revolutionary” project to solarise 100,000 agricultural tube wells across the country, which he said was inevitable and the only way forward to make the country progress, APP reported.
“This is a revolutionary step as without it, no one can think of Pakistan making progress… I want to give a message that no other project can match the significance of solar energy,” the prime minister said addressing the launch ceremony that marked the distribution of solar tube well certificates to Islamabad-based-farmers.
Calling agriculture the only sector to turn around the national economy, PM said the provision of low-cost power supply was inevitable to not only the farmers, but also the households, shopkeepers, and industry to make the exports competitive.
Lamenting the previous governments’ negligence for not exploiting the immense resources of hydel and solar energy, he said the provision of low cost electricity was the foremost obligation of every government.
Shehbaz said during last 16 months, his government made utmost efforts to launch the project, but the political situation and uncertainty about the IMF agreement caused a delay.
Explaining the scenario of a default country, the prime minister exemplified Sri Lanka, saying such states had to curtail imports to save foreign exchange, which ultimately led to a severe shortage of life-saving drugs, petrol, and other commodities, crisis of imported materials and closure of industry, thus leading to chaos.
PM said as the IMF had disallowed the subsidy to the agriculture and the industrial sector, the solar energy was the only way forward for cost-reduction and reduce dependence on the costly imported oil.
Shehbaz said he would send a summary to President of Pakistan for dissolution of the assembly by tomorrow (Wednesday).
He gave a message to the next government that the solarisation project was of utmost importance as the foundation of Rs377 billion initiative of tube well solariation had been laid.
He told the gathering that under the mechanism, the federal government, provincial government, and the farmer would bear one-third each of the total cost of tube well solarisation. In case of Islamabad, the government would pay 67% and rest by the farmer.
Referring to his earlier meeting with a Saudi delegation, the prime minister said he had invited Saudi firms to invest in Diamer Bhasha Dam project, which would need around $15 billion investment to build a reservoir and generate power of 4,000 megawatts of electricity.
He said in his tenure, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had allocated Rs100 billion for the project, but it could not move forward due to “respective government’s negligence”.
For a first, the prime minister added, Thar coal was being utilised under a CPEC project and around 2500 megawatts of electricity was being generated. He said if his party was given a chance in next elections, he would prove his commitment to rid the country of poverty and loans to make it self-sufficient and a great nation.
In his address, Minister for National Food Security Tariq Bashir Cheema said due to the inflation, the farmers remained deprived of due relief, though the incumbent government strived to meet their needs despite financial constraints.
He said under the project, around 42 tube wells in Islamabad would be solarised.
Cheema appreciated the prime minister for supporting the farmers of the flood-hit regions, which he said enabled the farmers to restart their farming.
The minister added that consequent to the government’s support and efforts, the country got around 29 metric tons of wheat crop was produced, and expecting around 12.5 billion cotton bales, though the availability of oil seeds increased in the market.
He was of the view that the scheme of tube well solarisation would prove to be a great milestone to save the farmers from huge power bill.