|KSE-100 vs MSCI Emerging Markets Index Source: Wall Street Journal|
This is a continuation of the bullish trend seen in 2012 when KSE-100 also rose nearly 50% to top all Asian market indices. As of December 31, 2013, KSE-100 is up 329% since the end of 2008. It is being driven mainly by rapid growth in revenue and profits of the listed companies. Even after the strong run-up, the market still remains cheap—currently trading at over nine times trailing 12 month earnings—a common valuation measure used by stock analysts, according to Wall Street Journal.
|World Stock Indices Performance 2013 Source: Seeking Alpha|
The fresh investor optimism in 2013 was triggered by the election of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif whose government is seen to be business-friendly by investors and businessmen. His finance minister Ishaq Dar claimed that Pakistan's gdp growth accelerated to 5% in July-Sept quarter in 2013. It was driven by large-scale manufacturing (LSM) which grew 12.76 per cent in September 2013 from a year ago.
"Pakistan has a fairly diverse economy with a large and young population that needs to be fed and supplied basic infrastructure such as electricity," Wall Street Journal quoted Caglar Somek, global portfolio manager at Caravel Management in New York, as saying. He manages around $650 million of investments. "If you find the companies that supply those basic needs, growing at double digit with high profitability, you can buy them at valuations that are on average 30% to 40% cheaper than their emerging market peers," said Mr. Somek.
Since the general elections of May, 2013, Pakistan has seen smooth power transfer from one civilian government to another. Other major transitions include the change of President, Army Chief and the nation's powerful Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Power cuts are now less frequent after payment of power generation companies overdue bills by the federal government. Financing has been closed on several power projects, including ADB financing of a major coal-fired plant in Jamshoro and Chinese loans for the nation's largest nuclear power plant planned for Karachi.
Progress on economic front, however, is not matched by similar progress on the security front which remains the biggest concern for the future of the country and its economy. What is needed is a comprehensive anti-terrorism strategy and plan of action soon.
Foreign Investment Up, Load-shedding Down in Nawaz Sharif's First 100 Days
Pakistan to Beg and Borrow Billions More in 2013-14
Power Companies Profits Soar at Taxpayer's Expense
Does Nawaz Sharif Have a Counter-terrorism Strategy?
Pakistan's Tax Evasion Fosters Aid Dependence
Pakistan's Vast Shale Oil and Gas Reserves
Pak IPPs Make Record Profits Amid Worst Ever Load Shedding
Global Power Shift Since Industrial Revolution
Massive Growth in Electrical Connections in Pakistan
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar's Budget 2013-14 Speech
Here's a News report on KSE shares performance:
KARACHI: Pakistan equities attracted about 11 percent of total net inflow of $3.7 billion (as of Dec 5, 2013) seen in frontier markets in 2013 and remained the most lucrative market for foreign investors, a report released on Tuesday said.
During the year, foreign fund managers bought $2 billion and sold $1.6 billion worth of equities, which resulted in net inflow of $398 million against $125 million in the previous year, said Asad Siddiqui, senior manager research at Topline Securities (Pvt) Limited while quoting a Morgan Stanley report.
As per the latest figures, foreign fund managers currently hold equities worth $4.4 billion in Pakistan, which makes up 36 percent of the free float (eight percent of total market cap). Current foreign holding is also the highest since 2008, when it was at $5.1 billion.
The market remained among one of the best performing frontier markets in the last two years. Out of 26 frontier markets as defined by MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International), Pakistan ranked 7th in the outgoing year 2013 with MSCI Pakistan gaining 38 percent, outpacing MSCI-FM growth by 17 percent. “This robust performance of Pakistan equities has raised many questions and now investors want to know where Pakistan stands against frontier markets on valuations,” Siddiqui said.
Over the past five years, Pakistan has traded at a discount of 32 percent to frontier markets, which has now shrunk to 20 percent. Despite this, Pakistan remains one of the cheapest markets amongst its MSCI-Frontier Markets peers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Currently trading at price earning (PE) of 7.9x (multiples), Pakistan stands at 25 percent discount to Vietnam, the 2nd cheapest MSCI-FM market with 2014 PE of 10.6x. On the other hand, Pakistan trades at a discount of more than 50 percent against its most expensive FM peer like Kuwait, trading at 2014E PE of 16.9x.
Pakistan still remained one of the cheapest markets in MSCI-FM on the basis of PE and was therefore likely to attract interest from fund managers wanting exposure in markets that were resilient and not directly affected by global factors.
The KSE remained a part of middle-tier markets called emerging markets from 1994 till the crisis of 2008 then it lost its status and came in the level of basic markets called frontier markets, said one official of the KSE.
There is requirement of having three companies with each company having free-float capitalization of $898 million or above for becoming eligible for emerging market index and Pakistan market’s top nine companies contributed total market capitalization of $5,259 million but their free-float remained below the requirement. Average market capital of nine Pakistan companies was $584 million and their free-float is around 30 percent or around $175 million only.
Pakistan’s top nine companies with higher market capitalization included Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), MCB Bank Ltd, Fauji Fertilizer Co, Pakistan Oilfields, United Bank, Hub Power Co, Pakistan Petroleum Limited, Engro Corporation and National Bank of Pakistan...
Here's an Economist piece on the total worth of free-floating trade-able shares being so small that it;s comparable to the valuation of a single western corporation:
Investors love the promise of high returns from emerging-market equities, but there are not many of them to buy. Especially if you exclude stakes held by governments, the market capitalisation of bourses beyond the rich world is tiny. Just how tiny is apparent from the map below: in many emerging markets, the value of all the freely traded shares of firms that feature in the local MSCI share index (which typically tracks 85% of local listings) is equivalent to a single Western firm. Thus all the shares available in India are worth roughly the same as Nestlé; Egypt’s are equal to Burger King. This suggests that emerging economies need deeper, more liquid markets-and investors need more perspective.
Japanese companies see Pakistan as the second best market for business growth in Asia, according to JETRO as reported by Pakistan Today:
Pakistan has been ranked second in the world in terms of business growth in a survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).
The current survey – which examined records of 9,371 Japanese firms operating across the world – put Pakistan just behind Taiwan in terms of business generated leaving behind both India and Japan, media reports said.
The JETRO has been conducting such surveys since 2013. Pakistan’s data was generated from 27 Japanese firms doing business here. The results found that 74.1pc of the Japanese companies estimated operating profit in 2013, allotting second rank to Pakistan only after Taiwan (81.8pc).
Compared to this, 60.7pc Japanese firms in China and 45.8pc in India made operating profit in 2013. If the survey is any guide, not only have a majority of the already present Japanese investors in Pakistan posed confidence in terms of guaranteeing business opportunities, they have also declared their intentions to expand their business.
Kohat Tunnel and Indus Highway are two noteworthy projects being carried out with Japanese loan. Likewise, second biggest loan of $ 34 million has been given in four years by Japan for coping with the power crisis.
A mega $ 2 billion project of Karachi Circular Railway is also on the horizon soon and will be a big boost in Japanese interests in Pakistan.
“Media’s voice is louder than the findings of our survey,” said Naoyuki Maekawa, senior coordinator for South Asia in JETRO.
JETRO has been urging Japanese investors to benefit from the conducive business environment in Pakistan.
There are more than 20,000 Japanese companies in China and over 1000 in India. There is an increase of 100 Japanese companies in India every year, said JETRO official. Apparently, China is a hot destination for investors but many want to pull out due to various laws.
“It is easy to invest in China and difficult to pull out,” said Yoshiji Nogami, former foreign minister of Japan and currently President of Japan Institute of International Affairs.
While Pakistani laws are more favorable for foreign investors, nevertheless the country has so far been able to convince only 70 Japanese companies for investment, majority of them in manufacturing sector, automobile industry in particular.
Not only they noted growth in their existing business, 70.4% Japanese investors in Pakistan forecast further improvement in their business during 2014.
Business confidence exceeds 40 points in Cambodia, Myanmar and Pakistan, JETRO’s survey found explaining the feedback collected from Japanese investors already doing business in the respective countries.
Here's an Express Tribune story on inflows into Pakistan Development Fund:
As the State Bank of Pakistan remains tightlipped over the source and purpose of funding, Pakistan received another tranche of $750 million in the newly-established Pakistan Development Fund (PDF), taking the total contribution to $1.5 billion so far.
Highly-placed sources told The Express Tribune that friendly countries have injected another sum of $750 million in the PDF – an account opened to channel money from abroad. The last tranche was received in February that stabilised the dwindling official foreign currency reserves.
It is the first time that any country has generously given $1.5-billion assistance to Pakistan within one month, as Islamabad never received such an amount as ‘upfront’ payments. The US, which remains the largest contributor, always gave amounts in tranches spreading over several years. Under its five-year, $7.5-billion Kerry Lugar aid package, Washington gave less than $2.5 billion in government-to-government assistance in over three years.
However, it was not clear whether the money received is a grant or depositary loans aimed at temporarily bailing out the country.
The officials, seeking anonymity, confirmed the receipts but none of the concerned government agencies came on the record.
SBP chief spokesman Umar Siddiqui did not respond to queries regarding receipt of the $750-million second tranche.
However, a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance, quoting Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, said, “The government of Pakistan has implemented concrete steps to improve the overall external position by ensuring substantial capital and financial inflows in the country.
“As a result, reserves have improved substantially in the last one month. This has been made possible by not only receiving larger inflows from multilateral and bilateral resources; but also through attracting forex flows through the capital markets and better home remittances.
“The forex reserves of the country have improved from $7.59 billion on February 7, to $ 9.37 billion on March 7. The efforts of the government have started to show positive results and are on track to deliver what we had announced earlier that our forex reserves will reach around $10 billion by the end of March.”
Dar’s statement also came on back of the rupee strengthening to Rs101 against the US dollar in the open market. However, the finance minister’s earlier claim, which he made last year that the dollar would be brought down to Rs98, still
Here's an AFP report on Pakistan economic recovery:
Pakistan's finance minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday said he was optimistic about an economic recovery after the rupee breached the psychologically important 100 to the dollar mark.
The currency had been losing its value against the greenback since Sharif's PML-N government came to power in June last year, sliding from 97 rupees to the dollar to a low of 108 in December.
Since then it has mounted a recovery and as of Wednesday evening the rupee was trading at 97.90 to the dollar.
Addressing a press conference Wednesday, Dar said: "The price of onions, tomatoes and dollars has been brought down to the level when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took oath."
"It is a positive development for the economy and will boost investors' confidence into Pakistan," Dar said, adding the government was not resorting to injecting reserves from the state bank in order to stabilise the currency.
"We did not use State Bank money to strengthen the rupee, but persuaded exporters to bring back their money to Pakistan and checked currency speculation, which resulted in the rising value of the rupee," he added.
Dar said that revenue from tax collection, which has traditionally been problematic, had increased by 17.7 percent and the budget deficit was down to 3.1 percent as compared to 4.1 percent in the first eight months of last year.
He added that overseas remittences by Pakistanis abroad stood at $9.23 billion, representing an 11 percent growth compared with last year.
Dar said that exports have also shown a 6.2 percent growth while the rate of inflation was currently 8.6 percent.
"We are on track to achieve six percent GDP growth rate in three years and Pakistan can emerge as a strong economy in the region," Dar said.
The IMF approved a $6.7 billion bailout loan package for Pakistan in September last year to help the struggling nuclear-armed country achieve economic reforms, particularly in its troubled energy sector.
The IMF said Pakistan's economy was picking up, with growth expected to reach about 3.1 percent in 2013/14 compared to its earlier estimate of 2.8 percent.
Cash-strapped Pakistan, plagued by a bloody homegrown Taliban insurgency, is battling to get its shaky economy back on track and solve a chronic energy crisis that cripples its industry.
The IMF made an initial payment of $540 million, and in November fund officials said during a monitoring visit that Pakistan was "broadly on track" with reforms.
In December, Pakistan received $554 million as a second tranche of the loan.
Pakistan's exports up, FDI up in first 8 months of fiscal 2013-14:
Pakistan's trade deficit fell 4.89 percent in the July-February of the fiscal year 2013/14 to $12.542 billion compared with a deficit of $13.187 billion for the same period last year, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
Exports rose to $16.866 billion in (July-February) from $15.882 billion, and imports to $29.408 billion from $29.069 billion.
On a monthly basis, the trade deficit fell to $1.433 billion in February from $2.076 billion the previous month. Exports totaled $2.167 billion in February and imports were $3.600 billion. (Compiled by Reuters Karachi newsroom)
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan increased by 17.9 percent to $606.3 million during the first eight months of the current fiscal year, according to figures released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday.
FDI inflows stood at $514.2 million during the same period of last fiscal. FDI has been on the decline since 2008 in the wake of security concerns, weak law and order situation and energy and power outages in the country. And while the increase in the pace of FDI inflows is reasonable, the volumes the country received during July-February FY14 are far from satisfactory, economists say.
Between July 2013 and February 2014, overseas investment by businesses declined by 11 percent to $1.262 billion against $1.418 billion in the corresponding period last year. Similarly, outflow was recorded at $656.2 million in the period under review against $904.4 million for the same period in the previous fiscal, revealed SBP data.
The oil and gas exploration sector emerged as the biggest recipient of FDI with $296.2 million, followed by the financial sector with $102.8 million in the July-February period in FY14. Foreign investment in food, chemical and tobacco and cigarette sectors was recorded at $75.1 million, $71.6 million and $55.5 million, respectively.
FDI stood at $79.2 million in February 2014 against outflow of $14 million in the corresponding month of the last year. The numbers on foreign investment showed that portfolio investment fell drastically from $169.9 million for the July-January period in FY13 to $54 million over the same period in the current fiscal – a drop of over 68.2 percent.
Total foreign investment for the first seven months of the current fiscal was up 6.5 percent to $724.6 million against $680.4 million for the same period in the previous fiscal.
“The level of FDI is still too low to have much of an impact on the country’s financial account,” said economist Muzzamil Aslam.
However, foreign portfolio investment at the Karachi Stock Exchange is encouraging despite no listing of new companies at the local equity market, he added.
“In the financial sector, the reason behind the rise in FDI is investments by foreign shareholders and sponsors in banks which were short of the minimum capital requirement fixed by the State Bank of Pakistan for the year 2013,” he said.
The sponsors of the noncompliant banks issued right shares to raise capital. “Once the process of the privatisation gets momentum, foreign investors will come to the country, subsequently improving financial account prospects,” he added.
Morgan Stanley doubling of #Pakistan's weight in #MSCI index drives foreign inflows into #Karachi. BAHL, Lucky, PSO
MSCI has agreed to implement all proposed changes to the Frontier Market (FM)Index, which along with the upgrade of Qatar and UAE would increase Pakistan’s weight to 8.88% from 4.29% currently.
The changes will be implemented in 7 monthly phases, from May‐14 and will be completed by Nov‐14. Pakistan’s weight would increase to 7.28% in May‐14 due
to Qatar and UAE upgrade, whilst 8.86% will be reached over the next 6 months.
Amongst specific stocks, there are 3 additions from Pakistan to MSCI FM, incl. BAHL, Lucky, and PSO.
Although most frontier market funds are actively managed and off benchmark,such a sharp weightage increase would significantly increase Pakistan’s prominence on the frontier map, and should be a fillip for the equity market.
Washington, April 9. 2014—The World Bank said today it was cautiously optimistic about economic prospects in South Asia in 2014 because of growing exports and investment as it emphasized that the risks to growth were becoming more domestic, including an increasingly vulnerable banking sector.
In its twice-a-year “South Asia Economic Focus”, the World Bank forecast that economic growth would rise to 5.8% in 2015 from 5.2% this year and 4.8% last year. South Asian countries – which include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka – appeared to have largely recovered from last year’s financial turmoil caused by changes in US Federal Reserve monetary policy. Many were rebuilding currency reserves while curbing current account deficits.
But these successes on the external side were accompanied by looming problems in the domestic economy. Economic growth could be held back by unstable banking sectors, inflation, fiscal deficits and debt, and persistent shortfalls in energy and transport infrastructure across the region.
“Now that external pressures are waning, it’s time to refocus on addressing problems within the economies in South Asia so that countries can boost growth and reduce poverty,” said South Asia Chief Economist Martin Rama. “The good news is that across South Asia there is a growing momentum in support of reforms to increase growth because governments recognize this is the best way to overcome poverty.”
Over this year, the report saw a strengthening of economic growth for most South Asian countries.
The region’s largest economy, India, would see growth rise to 5.7% in fiscal year (FY) 2014 from 4.8% last fiscal year with activity receiving a boost from a more competitive exchange rate and many large investment projects going ahead. Pakistan’s economic growth could increase to 4% this fiscal year from 3.6% in FY2013 as its economy benefitted from a reduction in electricity blackouts, resilient remittance flows from Pakistani workers abroad, rebounding manufacturing exports and a more buoyant services sector. Nepal was recovering from a difficult year affected by setbacks in the agricultural sector and with its government budget. Helped by strong remittance flows boosting consumption and the services sector, the economy should grow by 4.5% in FY2014 after 3.6% in FY2013. Sri Lanka would continue to grow at 7.3% this year as the economy was sustained by new capacity from infrastructure investments and rebuilding after the country’s recent conflict.
Economic activities recovered in the second half of FY14 in Bangladesh, driven by resilient exports and domestic demand, following setbacks suffered in the first half due to political uncertainty and turmoil. A recovery in export growth and increases in public expenditure are likely to help achieve 5.4% GDP growth in FY14, slightly lower than last year’s 6%.
The economy in Afghanistan will be weighed down by the persistent uncertainty caused by the withdrawal this year of international forces and the subsequent reduction in foreign aid for the economy. In addition, the country’s agricultural sector’s output has declined. Economic growth was therefore projected to fall to 3.2% this year after 3.6% in 2013. Depending on security and whether agriculture rebounds and mining output increases, Afghanistan could see growth recover in 2015 and 2016 to around five percent.
The report made a point of focusing on the banking sector because of its centrality for South Asia’s economic stability and growth.
Here's an Investing.com report on Pakistan's "power grid looking brighter":
Pakistan’s national energy grid will add more than a dozen power projects, including two dams and a coal mine, increasing electricity capacity in one of the worst shortages in the country’s history.
Pakistan’s power sector can generate about 16,000 MW, short of requirements by about 5,000 MW and worsening as demand grows, projected to swell to 26,000 MW by 2020, according to Pakistan’s 2013 National Power Policy report.
Capacity in some Pakistani industries, like the fertilizer industry, fell to nearly 50 percent in the last six months, forcing interruptions to gas supplies and closures. Importing expensive energy over the past few years, when the country had the capacity to produce it, has eroded Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves.
Work is underway in advanced stages at Gaddani Power Project and two power projects at Bin Qasim, Pakistan Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal told Parliament in Islamabad on Wednesday, Pakistan Today reported. He also said work has begun on Thar Coal Project, which includes a mining and three power projects that will begin producing electricity within three years.
China has agreed to ten power projects at Thar, Iqbal added. Chinese banks offered to finance up to $900 million of the $1.2 billion for the Thar coal in December, asking the Pakistani government for a loan guarantee. London-based Oracle Coalfields, the owner and developer of the coal plant project, expects to finalize detailed agreements with two Chinese partners, CAMCE and SEPCO, by the end of the year.
Two hydroelectric projects, the Diamer-Bhasha and Dasu dams, will also help lift Pakistan from its energy shortage and usher in economic progress, analyst Nasir Jamal told Radio Pakistan Thursday.
Pakistan's KSE-100 shares index crosses 30,000 mark to set new record
KARACHI: The long-awaited moment for the stock market arrived on Thursday when the KSE-100 index performed the incredible feat of crossing comfortably over the 30,000 points level.
The ravaging bulls tossed the index up by 400.94 points or 1.35 per cent to 30,177.11. The volume also jumped 83pc over the previous day to 206 million shares.
The immediate trigger for the bulls was provided by the global rating agency Moody’s upgrade of outlook for Pakistan’s economy to ‘stable’ from ‘negative’. It was sweetened further by the rating agency’s outlook on five Pakistan banks to ‘stable’ from ‘negative’.
All five banks were major gainers on Thursday with ABL up by Rs5.87; HBL by Rs3.66; MCB by Rs5.41; NBP by Re0.69 and UBL by Rs8.35. Elsewhere, PSO rallied by Rs7.67 and Lucky Cement advanced by Rs15.93. Brokers said that cement shares were powered by expectations of healthy June results.
Most market gurus admit that foreign investors have been the engine that drove the market to its all-time high. On Thursday, foreign funds bought equity worth $6.44m, which raises the total inflow to $33.7m only during the first three weeks of July.
Mohammad Sohail, CEO at Topline Securities, observes: “After increasing by 49pc in 2012 and again 49pc in 2013, local market index is up 19pc in this calendar year to date.”
He pointed out that in the last two and a half years, the index had shot up from 11,000 points to reach 30,000 led by “foreign flows, smooth political change and recent signs of economic recovery.”
Khurram Schehzad, chief investment officer, Lakson Investments, pointed out that the Pakistan bourse had benefitted from increase in weight in the MSCI Frontier Market index which elated Pakistan to third place, after Kuwait and Nigeria.
He observed that since January 2012 when the market first picked up momentum, foreign inflows into the Pakistan market amounted to the tall order of $826m.
As for Pakistan, any roadshow involving Pakistan “is one of confirming and denying prejudices more than the seeming paradoxes of stock market performance over the last 5 years,” Auerbach says. Despite that, Pakistan could move from frontier to emerging market within a mere “couple of years.” Auerbach recently traveled with the chief executive officer of its new Pakistan partner, Topline Securities, and offered these observations:
” … Client queries generally oscillated around the evolving political situation and clearly valuations and yield have not meaningfully tipped the scales for an outright portfolio bet on the country for most investors … Over the next 6 months $2-2.5 billion of new float will come on stream from Pakistan through divestments which should take its MSCI frontier market weightage higher to 9-9.5% with its subsequent effects on passive flows. Subject to qualitative criteria being met, Pakistan could re-enter the emerging market indices in a couple of years. Energy continues to remain the fundamental crippling effect on the economy and we are unlikely to see a solution at least over the next 4-5 years.”
Why #Pakistan's Stock Market Beats #China's And #India's via @forbes
Pakistan’s equity market has been outperforming China’s and India’s markets by a big margin in recent years. In the last twelve months, Global X MSCI MSCI +% Pakistan ETF was up 20%, beating India’s and China’s comparable ETF’s by almost two to one – see table.
That may come as a big surprise to some. Pakistan has been suffering all sorts of terrorist attacks, which makes it a very unstable country to put your money in. And it has been lagging behind both India and China in key macroeconomic metrics like GDP growth rates and unemployment—see table.
Index/Fund 12-month Performance 5-year Performance
Global X MSCI Pakistan (NYSE:PAK) 20% 400%*
IShares China (NYSE:FXI) 9.80% 16.00%
iShares S&P India 50 (NASDAQ:INDY) 12.77 % 33.0%
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (NYSE:EEM) 5.38% 1.52%
*In local currency.
Source: Yahoo YHOO +0.98%. Finance and Karachi Exchange 9/5/2016
Pakistan’s, India’s and China’s Key Metrics
Country China India Pakistan
GDP $10866 billion 2074 billion $270 billion
GDP Growth yoy 6.7% 7.1% 4.24%
Unemployment 4.05% 4.9% 5.9%
Inflation Rate 1.3% 5.05% 3.56%
Capital flows -594 HML -$300 million -$1882 million
Government Debt to GDP 43.9% 67.2% 64.8%
What does the collective wisdom of markets see in Pakistan’s markets that others are missing?
A few things. First, terrorist attacks don’t usually affect financial markets, unless they are disruptive to trade, which hasn’t been the case in Pakistan. Second, Pakistan is a frontier rather than an emerging market, and therefore, favored by the numbers game. Third, its market reform efforts have been getting a couple of votes of confidence from overseas like $1 billion in support from the World Bank – and a couple of domestic acquisitions from foreign suitors like the acquisition of Karachi’s K-Karachi by Shanghai Electric Power Co. This has all been music to the ears of foreign investors.
#Pakistan Minister Ahsan Iqbal claims 3,600 MW #electricity will be added in May 2017 to cut #loadshedding #CPEC
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
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