We were talking about Chinese investment, not loan: Asif

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  • Power minister rejects PTI chief’s allegation, clarifies China is aiming at investing $ 34b in power sector in Gaddani
  • Asif says Thar coal will be used in Sindh’s mine-mouth projects while coal will be imported from Australia, Indonesia, South Africa and not China for Gaddani projects

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Tuesday afternoon, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif clarified that China was aiming at investing in Pakistan and not sanctioning a loan.

Rejecting allegations levelled by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in this regard and advising him to consult experts before making unfounded assertions, the minister said China was to commit investment worth $ 34 billion during the visit of its president to Pakistan.

The power minister also rejected Khan’s claims that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) rules had been amended to accommodate agreements with China. The PEMRA chairman is from Sindh and it has representatives of all provinces, he added.

The minister said advertisements were issued for setting up of coal-based power plants at Gaddani. He said the claim of Imran Khan that Chinese coal was to be used for these projects was baseless as coal imports would be made from different sources including Australia, Indonesia and South Africa through a transparent manner. He said the government would procure coal for state-owned power plants while independent power plants (IPPs) themselves would procure coal for their plants from whatever source they want.

Referring to Khan’s claim that Pakistan had largest coal reserves in Thar and there was no need to import coal, Asif said Thar coal reserves will be used for mine-mouth projects being launched by the Sindh government in collaboration with the private sector.

Dispelling the impression that “more-than-required” power will be produced as a result of these power projects, he said China and Pakistan had already studied this aspect. The project have been prepared keeping in view current power deficit, maintaining growth rate being envisaged in coming years, and reviving industry that has shut down due to power shortage.

The minister said new transmission lines will also be laid with collaboration of the private sector. He informed that circular debts have reduced from 295 billion to 238 billion while five billion more recovery has been made in spite of sit-ins.

 

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