Chinese firm to make huge invest in KP

PESHAWAR: Special coordinator to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister for finance and head of the newly-constituted provincial investment cell Rafaqatullah Babar has said that five reputed Chinese companies have agreed to invest $30 billion in the province, mostly in power generation and roads construction.

Talking to journalists here, he said a number of foreign investors had approached the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for contributing in the energy sector.

Rafaqatullah Babar, a senior chartered accountant, claimed that the international investment worth $30 billion would help the province rid of power loadshedding in the next three to four years. “Although it has been only a month when we started work on the challenging assignment of attracting foreign investment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, I am certain that the province will become loadshedding-free by the end of 2017,” he hoped.

Babar disclosed that to overcome traffic problems in Peshawar, the PTI-led government had decided to launch an overhead metro-train project in the provincial capital. He said the train track would ideally start from Chamkani in the outskirts of Peshawar and would end in Hayatabad, covering almost all the main Grand Trunk Road and University Road.

However, he said the government would want the technical experts and international investors to decide if an overhead or underground train metro would be a more feasible option. “The residents of Peshawar need a serious break from the suffocating traffic jams,” he remarked.

According to Babar, private investors from China, Australia and Hong Kong have shown willingness to invest in Daral Khwar, Ranolia and Mataltan hydro- power projects in Swat, Sharmai (150 megawatts) and Koto (150 MW) projects in Dir and Shashgai (144 MW) and Shogosin (132 MW) hydel-power projects in Chitral. “The foreign investment in the power sector is likely to produce an estimated 1,533 megawatts electricity during the next four years,” he said.

Babar revealed that the government was planning to establish a new grand city in the province in the near future. “We have started initial working on the project. The city will become a jewel in the crown of the province,” he remarked.

Replying to a question regarding the deteriorating law and order situation in the province, Babar argued that businesses have never been targetted even during the wave of terrorism. “Investors are businessmen. They instinctively prefer projects that are financially feasible and profitable,” he remarked, adding that international investment did not mean that foreigners would be physically required to work on the project sites. “These projects will create massive jobs for locals apart from solving the loadshedding related problems,” he added.

He said he met with a special envoy of the Chinese Embassy last week to discuss the critical issue of security to Chinese and other foreign investors. “We have communicated to the Chinese Embassy that the chief minister has ordered VIP level security to all the foreign investors whenever they needed to pay a visit to the province. They would get a security cover from Peshawar to Islamabad,” he said.

Babar opined that the provincial government was confident of attracting and starting projects of up to 2,000 MW in the private sector. “Contacts made across the globe, correspondence and discussions initiated and profiles of the interested entrepreneurs makes us comfortable in making some predictions at this stage,” he added.

According to him, the total potential of KP in hydel-power production can go up to 50,000 MW. “However, the potential of the current identified hydel-power potential locations in KP stood at 25,000 MW,” he said.

“If we can properly tap the hydro energy sector, it can yield more than Rs50 billion annual profit for KP, resulting in an astounding financial stability for the province,” he stated.