Water, energy projects : Govt to consider public-private partnership

* Finance minister briefed on issues related to financing of Diamer-Bhasha Dam

ISLAMABAD: Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Zafar Mehmood has proposed to the government to develop mega water sector projects on fast track basis under public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
During a review meeting chaired by Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on the issues related to financing Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Mehmood suggested fast track development of the projects in order to remove the obstacles and impediments and the government might share some responsibilities with the private investors at development and execution stage.
He briefed Dar the past experience of project development through Private Power and Infrastructure Board showed private investors short listed for development of hydel power projects could not achieve financial close as schedule due to lengthy procedures involved. 
Dar said one year back, everybody including international financial institutions was talking of either Dasu or Diamer-Bhasha Dam. After coming into power, the government studied both the options and decided to go ahead with both Dasu and Diamer-Bhasha at the same time. 
He declared the government would undertake Bunji, Pattan, Thahkot, Monda and Dasu II projects too. 
He said in line with the vision of the PML-N government, we would concentrate on generating cheap electricity. Combined with Dasu, Diamer and coal based projects we will eventually phase out costly thermal generation resulting in reduction of import bill.
Dar said we would invite private sector in the energy projects while giving them reasonable upfront tariff. He directed the chairman WAPDA to prepare the whole model in the light of decisions taken in the meeting for final presentation to the Prime Minister. He expressed his optimism international investors would be interested in investment opportunities in Pakistan providing promising returns.
Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif said the Ministry was making efforts to enhance power generation in order to reduce supply and demand gap. He emphasised hydel led energy mix, which could provide cheaper electricity to the public. 

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