Pakistan, US to enhance cooperation in energy sector


Pakistan and the United States (US) on Tuesday agreed to enhance cooperation in energy sector with special focus on development of bio-gas and wind energy to help the former overcome its longstanding power crisis. Pakistan needs investment particularly in the energy sector, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said while addressing a joint press conference along with Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) President. Elizabeth L. Littlefield who was heading US delegation in talks with Pakistan.
Earlier, the US delegation held detailed discussions with Pakistan’s economic and energy managers where various issues related to investment in various sectors of economy were discussed. Dar told media personnel that talks with the OPIC were part of the government’s efforts to bring foreign investment into the country which would help enhance economic growth.
Dar was of the view that investment cooperation between Pakistan and US would further boost relations between both the countries.
The minister said that Independent Power Producers (IPPs) possessed the ability to generate more electricity and that the government had paid circular debt to enhance generation capacity.
He said both sides had agreed to continue dialogue on the pending issues of the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) to tap the investment potential.
Terming terrorism as one of the biggest challenges the country was facing, Dar said that the government was committed to devise a comprehensive strategy to overcome this menace by taking all political parties onboard. Earlier, while briefing the US delegation, Dar informed them about the successful passage of the federal budget of 2013-14, adding that the government had enhanced the allocations for public sector development to Rs1.155 trillion besides enhancing the allocations of Income Support Programme to Rs70 billion. Dar assured the US delegation that Pakistan was safe in addition to being a lucrative country for investment that provides a conducive atmosphere for foreign investors.
Littlefield said that the investment through OPIC into Pakistan had increased from 80 to 300 million dollars, witnessing a manifold increase during the past couple of years. She said that Pakistan was facing some challenges but she was optimistic that the new government would overcome all these challenges
She also highlighted the importance of investments in Pakistan’s education and energy sectors. Furthermore, Littlefield said her country would enhance cooperation with Pakistan in power generation through wind and bio-gas and that US companies were already involved in the development of energy in Pakistan, including a 50 megawatt electricity project by an American in Sindh. Earlier, while briefing Dar his delegation about the operations of the OPIC, she said that the corporation mobilised private capital to help solve critical development challenges.