KARACHI: Sindh has earmarked Rs6.335 billion for energy projects for the next fiscal year, apart from Rs15.365bn set aside for development schemes in Thar.

Of the energy allocation, which would help the province increase its power output through both renewable and non-renewable energy sources, Rs1.7bn has been set aside for two ongoing schemes while a sum of Rs4.635 would be spent on four new schemes.

“Sindh is playing its due role by attracting new investments through a variety of fiscal and monetary incentives,” Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said while presenting the budget 2016-17 on Saturday.

Building infrastructure in Thar, where various projects on coal mines and power generation are under way, will remain the focus of the provincial government. It has inducted a separate sector, namely Thar-Coal Infras­tru­cture Develop­ment, and has earmarked Rs15.365bn under the head, of which Rs3.09bn has been set aside for 10 new schemes and Rs12.27bn for 17 ongoing schemes.

“One of the greatest news of the current financial year is the achievement of financial close for Sindh Engro Coal Mining Comp­any (SECMC),” Mr Shah said.

The SECMC — a joint venture company of the Government of Sindh, Engro Powergen and others — is working on Block-II of Thar.

The Sindh government holds 54 per cent share in this company and has committed Rs11bn as its equity share. Besides, the provincial government gave primary obligation to the federal government for sovereign guarantee of $700 million for the mining project in the block and has committed Rs70bn to build required infrastructure, he added.

In the initial phase, the mining project would extract 3.8m tonnes of coal a year to generate 660 megawatts of power through a mine-mouth power plant. The project will come on line 2018. Later on, the annual mining capacity will be increased to 7.4m tonnes to generate 1,320MW.

“This is a landmark achievement and will pave the way for energy security of this country. The project is part of the China-Pakistan economic Corridor,” Mr Shah said.

He said that the Sindh power policy was aimed at attracting pri­vate sector investment. “Only str­a­tegic projects will be developed in the public sector in case of no interest and initiative from the private sector.”

He told the assembly that the provincial government has so far completed six wind power proje­cts, with a cumulative capacity of 309.2MW. Moreover, nine projects are under construction with a total installed capacity of 475.9MW, and 46 more wind projects with a cap­acity of 3,550MW are at various stages of project development. Tot­al investment on the wind power projects was around $5.37bn.

The government has also planned 24 solar power projects, which will add 1,450MW to the national grid. Total investment on these projects would be $2.9bn.

Mr Shah said the provincial government has issued letter of interest to a private firm for the construction of 9MW and 15MW power generation facilities at Rohri Canal and Nara Canal downstream. These projects are expected to start generating power by 2017.

Two special purpose companies namely Sindh Nooriabad Power Company (Pvt) Limited Phase-I and Sindh Nooriabad Power Company (Pvt) Limited Phase-II have been established in public-private partnership mode to generate 100MW through gas.

Apart from that, Rs25bn has been allocated for the clearance of outstanding liabilities of electricity dues of various government departments pertaining to power distribution companies such as K-Electric, Hyderabad Electric Supply Company and Sukkur Elec­tric Power Company. “It shows commitment of the Gover­nment of Sindh to pay the outstanding liabilities,” Shah said.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2016

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