ISLAMABAD: The Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA-1000) will help overcome power load-shedding in Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday.
“The role of CASA-1000 is important in redressing the power shortages in Pakistan,” he said during a meeting with Kyrgyzstan’s Minister for Economy Kojoshev Arzybek Orozbekovich at the Prime Minister’s House.
The premier said the project was moving satisfactorily and the recent meeting of Joint Working Group held in Dubai from Dec 5 to 8 took some important decisions which would ensure the project’s timely completion.
CASA-1000 will put in place the contractual and institutional arrangements, and the transmission infrastructure, to facilitate the export of 1,300 megawatts of already available surplus electricity in the summer months from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It is believed that by enabling regional electricity trade and paving the way for other trade/transit infrastructure investments in the region, CASA-1000 will help alleviate poverty in some of the poorest parts of the world while enhancing energy security and regional stability.
The prime minister welcomed the Kyrgyz delegation to Pakistan and said that Pakistan appreciated Kyrgyzstan government’s progressive policies. “The people of Pakistan are happy to witness the progress and development of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan,” he said
He informed the delegation that Pakistan economy’s growth rate has been above 4.84 per cent during last three years and it now offered great investment opportunities for foreign investors. “Pakistan has embarked upon a major reform programme that aimed at fiscal stabilisation, mobilising domestic resources, phasing out subsides, restructuring the power sector and other public sector enterprises and strengthening the social safety nets,” the prime minister said.
Commenting on bilateral matters, the prime minister said both Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan were members of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation and jointly they can achieve the goals of in the four priority areas, including transport, energy, and trade policy and facilitation to alleviate poverty in the region.
Pakistan-Kyrgyzstan Joint Ministerial Commission was established in 1994 and the volume of trade between the two countries amounted to $5.573 million from 2011 to 2016.
In a separate meeting with Yahya Mahfoodh Salim Al-Manthri, the president of State Council of Oman, Sharif said Pakistan was grateful to Oman for its support in connection with a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council.
“[We] would welcome our Omani brothers to invest in Pakistan, particularly in energy related projects, infrastructure development and consumer-based industry as current investment policy of Pakistan has created an investment- friendly environment by all sectors for FDI [foreign direct investment], guaranteeing equal treatment of foreign and domestic investments, protecting foreign investment with high rates of dividends,” he said.
The prime minister appreciated the proposal to start a ferry service between Karachi, Gwadar and Muscat. “This initiative will start a new chapter of friendship between both countries and the service will provide an affordable alternative source of movement for a large number of people who move on these routes on a regular basis,” he added.