ISLAMABAD: On first day of its first visit to Pakistan, Arab National Construction (ANC) Holdings of Dubai was able to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government to set up two coal-based power projects at Gadani, a jetty for coal import and a transmission line to add 1,320 megawatts of electricity to national grid at an investment of $2.5 billion.

The MoU signing ceremony witnessed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was kept off the media galore as the company was promised to be issued a formal letter of interest (LoI) within three months to start physical progress, a senior government official said.

A senior government official told Dawn that ANC’s management was wooed by Water and Power Minister Khwaja Mohammad Asif during his recent visit to the UAE.

He said the company would set up two power plants of 660MW each, build a jetty and deliver electricity through 75-km transmission to the national grid within three and half years.

The official said the prime minister directed Mr Asif to personally follow up with the agencies concerned for speedy completion of necessary paper work and project implementation. He described the MOU “another milestone in path towards energy self-reliance”.

The official said the project would be set up as independent power project (IPP) for which the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) would have to approve an upfront tariff and the entire financing for the project would be arranged by the Dubai based ANC Holdings LLC.

The MoU was signed by Managing Director of Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) N A Zuberi and Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of ANC Faris Tayeb Abdul Rahim Al-Baker.

The ANC’s chairman who was also present at the ceremony expressed his gratitude to the prime minister for the level of commitment from his government to pursue the projects.

After the MoU signing, a team of ministry of water and power and PPIB held detailed meetings on technical aspects of the project with the visiting delegation and would follow up with exchange of technical and legal documents over the next few days, an official said.

In his meeting with the delegation at the PM House, the prime minister told the delegation that he had prioritised energy sector for his attention and had planned several projects in this regard.

The premier said that 10 coal-based power projects of 660mw each would be constructed at Pakistan Power Park Gadani, where Chinese had agreed to invest in six projects, two projects will be constructed by ANC Dubai and one project had been initiated by the government itself.

Besides, two 660MW each coal-based power plants at Port Qasim were also in different phases of planning while the government of Punjab was separately planning to set up 12 coal-based projects of 660MW each at Sahiwal and five nearing locations.

He also mentioned coal mining at Thar and setting up of mine-mouth coal power projects in Sindh besides a 1000mw Solar Power Park in Punjab, addition of 2730mw hydropower generation from two different expansions at Tarbela dam as few of his personal priorities.

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