KARACHI: Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) has said that it has designed a mega investment programme for Pakistan with initial investment fund of $20 billion.
Talking to Sindh Minister for Works, Services and Irrigation Syed Nasir Hussain Shah in a meeting, KIA representative Dr Ahmad Idrees emphasised that the investment authority was interested in investing in various sectors of Sindh including infrastructure, energy and desalination. “KIA desires to invest under different modes ie public-private partnership, independent power producer (IPP), build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis and build operate and own (BOO) basis,” he said. “The mode of investment will depend on the viability of projects,” he said, adding that the projects might require guarantees and a recovery mechanism.
He recalled that Kuwait had been investing in Pakistan since 1960 and had entered into collaboration with many companies including Meezan Bank, Careem and Pak-Kuwait Investment Company. “Now, it is the second phase of major investment,” he said. Idrees pointed out that KIA had also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Balochistan government for setting up a 500-megawatt power plant. For streamlining projects and strengthening the investment programme, a three-member coordination committee, headed by Special Assistant to Chief Minister Ashfaq Memon, was also constituted. It was tasked with finalising the projects after due consultations with the stakeholders.
KIA’s representative revealed that his country focused mainly on food security and desired to extend financial and technical assistance to projects related to food security. “Hence, agricultural and livestock projects including food preservation can be included.”
Idrees said his company was also ready to construct a large number of houses in Sindh with payments in easy installments – for instance Rs20,000 a month. “This formula has proved very successful throughout the world,” he said.
Speaking during the meeting, the Sindh minister for works, services and irrigation highlighted that the provincial government mainly focused on food security in the province. He told the KIA representative that Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also held a meeting of provincial departments to discuss problems related to food security and issued directives for taking every possible step to overcome the challenge.
Sindh Forest and Livestock Secretary Abdul Rahim Soomro, who was also present in the meeting, said the Sindh government was interested in steering bio-diversity and improving the ecosystem. “Keeping food security in view, there is a need for developing wetlands,” he said in response to KIA’s willingness to release funds for food security.
Sindh Minister for Local Government Saeed Ghani pointed out that although the provincial government had forged partnerships with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, “we need additional partners for swift development including that of slum areas.”
He said Sindh was completely prepared to receive investment from Kuwait and other countries. In response to the KIA’s offer to construct houses in Sindh, some mega development projects were identified by the Works and Services Department, which included the construction of a bridge parallel to the Guddu Barrage to ease the traffic load on it.