Islamabad - In an unprecedented move, the PML-N government has successfully cleared the circular debt worth of 480 billion rupees in just 47 days after coming to power.

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, in launching of economic survey 2012-2013, had announced to eradiate circular debt in sixty days. However, the PML-N government has cleared this menace in just 47 days, which is landmark achievement of the incumbent government. The government on Monday paid Rs 158 billion to the Independent Power Producers while it has already paid Rs 322 billion to IPPs on June 29 this year.

The government and Independent Power Producers had signed a memorandum of understanding for clearing of dues. According to the MoU, the IPPs accepted the government’s demand to increase power generation by 1,700MW before Ramazan.  The IPPs also accepted the government’s demand regarding increase in credit period from one month to 60 days. The sources said a MoU had also been signed regarding the conversion of four thermal power plants to coal. The four IPPs, Hubco, Lalpir, Pakgen and Saba Plant, have agreed on conversion to coal in two years.

“We have cleared Rs 480 billion to power producing entities and the balance of Rs 23 billion represents the claims pending settlement. A small amount would be however withheld pending clearance.

This measure had not only resulted in addition of 1700MW in the national grid but also buoyed foreign investors who are now looking forward to make investments in the energy sector in Pakistan,” said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. He further said that the circular debt that had been adversely affecting energy production has been virtually settled.

Talking to the Malaysian delegation, Senator Ishaq Dar said that the conclusion of a programme with IMF has sent very positive signals to the financial world, which has welcomed the measures taken by the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for stabilizing the economy and creating an investor-friendly climate. This IMF programme, the Minister said, would provide comfort to the investors and enhance their confidence in the economy of Pakistan.

The Finance Minister regretted that a handful of speculators were trying to play with Pakistani currency for small personal gain and jeopardizing country’s interests.

Senator Ishaq Dar informed the Malaysian delegation that the Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif would soon unfold an Energy Policy, which envisages additional power generation at affordable prices. The policy, he said, would address the present skewed energy mix, which was at the core of the present energy crisis facing the country. “We plan to double the power generation in the country in the next five years”, said the Finance Minister.

A Malaysian delegation led by Dr Mohammad Emir Amvani Abdullah, CEO Felda Global Centures Holdings Berhad, called on Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar at his office. Finance Minister said, “The existing volume of trade between the two countries is not commensurate to the close brotherly relations existing between the two countries”. Assuring the Malaysian delegation of all possible cooperation and facilitation, Senator Ishaq Dar said that you would find it forthcoming “whenever and wherever it is required”.

During the meeting they held in depth discussions to explore ways and means to further expand trade and economic relations between the two countries. Dr Mohammad Emir said there were tremendous business opportunities and Malaysia was willing to make investments in Pakistan and looking particularly at Pakistan as a spring board for re-export to Central Asia and Africa.

The Malaysian delegation included Dr. Mohammad Emir Amwani Abdullah, CEO, Dato Khairil Anuar Hj Azikz, Group Chief Operating Officer and Azman Bin Ahmed, Vice President/CEO Felda Johore Bulkers wile the Finance Minister was assisted by the senior officials of the Finance Ministry.