London: Chief Minister of the Punjab, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and Senior Minister Baroness Warsi today co-chaired a Pakistan-UK Energy Conference 2013 to strengthen the partnership between the two countries in the energy sector and address the energy challenges in Pakistan. The event was jointly organized by the High Commission for Pakistan and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) at the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
The event provided a unique occasion for UK based investors to learn more about the energy sector in Pakistan, prospects, and to make business contacts for future energy projects.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister of Punjab Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said:
“Energy sector is the main focus of my government’s plans as set out by our Federal Government in its National Power policy for 2013-18. For the economy to grow, energy capacity will have to increase. The prevailing energy crisis in Pakistan would be overcome with the help of friendly countries. Pakistan offers great rate of returns on investment, and you are welcome to take advantage of the liberal investment regime of the country especially Punjab.”
He said his government was addressing the energy shortage issue on short term, medium term and long term basis. The priority was to shift from thermal to more affordable and cheaper means like hydel, coal, solar and wind energy resources so that the price of energy could be brought down. He thanked UKTI and FCO for their support in organizing the event.
Following the meeting, Baroness Warsi said:
“The most important aspect of today’s event was bringing people together and making connections that can lead to real business outcomes. Pakistan is an investor-friendly economy offering opportunities in conventional as well as alternative modes of energy productions. The UK has the expertise to help develop those opportunities, and I welcome the commitment of the Government of Pakistan, and of the Chief Minister, to making this a reality.”
Other speakers at today’s event included Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the Federal Minister for Water, Power and Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance and Pakistan High Commissioner for UK Mr Wajid Shamsul Hasan whereas, Usman Akhtar Bajwa Punjab Energy Secretary made a presentation on energy situation in Punjab. Khurram Dastagir Khan, Minister of State for Commerce, members of the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade; and representatives from UK companies attended the event. The Conference ended at Q&A session moderated by Lord Tariq Ahmad.
There are over 100 British companies operating in Pakistan. Bilateral trade between the two countries is over £2bn per annum and the Prime Minister has set a target to increase this trade to £3bn by 2015, which this event supports. UK Trade & Investment and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office actively support businesses doing, or seeking to do business, in Pakistan and will hold the second flagship UK-Pakistan Trade and Investment Conference at Lancaster House on 17 December.