ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said some 3,600 megawatt (MW) electricity would be added to the national grid by next month, which would help reduce energy shortfall in the country.
Addressing a press conference here, he said total 10,000 MW electricity would be added to the grid by May 2018 bridging total gap in demand and supply.
He said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had made record investment in the energy sector. Such investment had not been seen in the sector for the last 15 years and production of only 16,000 megawatt electricity was made possible during 66 years.
After completion of projects, uninterrupted power supply would be available, which would start a new of era of development in industry, agriculture and services sectors, he added.
Responding to the criticism that the present government could not manage to overcome the energy crisis despite lapse of four years, the minister said energy projects took three to four years to complete. The projects initiated by the PML-N government were near completion and would soon start commercial operations, he added.
He said since the PML-N government came into power, the economic indicators were on the upward trajectory.
"Economic growth has gone up to over 5 per cent in 2016 from 3.7 per cent in 2013, inflation rate has come down and industrial growth rate is improving," he added.
He said the government was focusing on manufacturing high cost commodities instead of low cost ones, therefore, during last three years the export of former had increased.
To a question, he said though the public debt had increased, yet the debt to GDP (gross domestic product) ratio decreased to 60.5 per cent in December 2016 against 62.4 per cent in December 2015.
The minister said the opponents of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) were trying to mislead the people that the project would increase the public debt and damage the local industry. In fact, it would help strengthen the country's industrial sector, he added.
"Huge number of employment opportunities will be created for the local people as Chinese industries are being shifted to Pakistan,", he said, adding that the Pakistani industry would also become more competitive.
He said due to the CPEC, Pakistan's economy was now shifting from low cost agriculture industry to high value industrialization.
Major development projects, which had been pending for decades, were now at the completion stage, he added.
He said the government had completed the long awaited N-85 connecting Quetta with Gwadar. It would construct over 1,000 kilometer roads across the Balochistan province, he added.
It was the current government that made the long awaited Diamir Bhasha Dam project a reality as its ground breaking was going to be held in a few months, he added.
Ahsan Iqbal rebutted an allegation levelled by scientist Dr Samar Mubarak against the government of fixing tariff rate of Rs 24 per unit of electricity produced from Thar Coal.
The traiff was fixed at only Rs 8.5 per unit, he added. (APP)