Austrian Ambassador, Axel Wech on Thursday expressed interest of his country in hydropower generation in Pakistan with particular reference to financing 1300MW additional power project on Tarbella 5 with a cost of $400 million
The Austrian Ambassador, Axel Wech said this while talking to Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar. He added that the project could be completed by the end of 2017. The Finance Minister appreciated the contribution; Austrian companies are making in hydrocarbon exploration and electricity generation and assured his complete support for the endeavors.
The Finance Minister informed the Ambassador that the economic policies pursued during the last 10 months by the Government of Pakistan has started producing positive impact on the overall economy of the country. He said that with the successful launch of euro bond in the international market and transparent auction of 3G/ 4G spectrum; the confidence of international investors in Pakistan is overwhelming.
He added that there is huge potential in energy and infrastructure development in Pakistan and Austrian companies can benefit from these opportunities. He emphasised on oil and gas exploration, a field in which Austrian companies are working in many areas of world.
The Ambassador said that Austria and Pakistan have enjoyed steady and friendly relations over the years. He informed the Finance Minister that Austrian companies based in Pakistan are currently involved in the oil and gas exploration, energy sector, water treatment, construction and mechanical engineering fields. He added that bilateral trade relations focus on energy and infrastructure projects as far as Austrian exports are concerned, and textiles, garments and leather goods for Pakistani exports.
Meanwhile, Peter N Varghese, Secretary of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Australia, called on Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar.
The Finance Minister informed the visiting Secretary that through prudent macro-economic management, austerity measures, resorting to external sources of funding and retiring domestic debt obligations, the Government has been successful in putting the economy on a stable growth trajectory. He said that these measures have resulted in restoring the investor’s confidence in Pakistan’s economy, which has also helped in over-subscription of Euro bonds.
Pakistan is also backing in business with World Bank and Asian Development Bank. He added that in line with our manifesto we are focusing on four Es viz energy, economy, extremism and education. In our reform agenda our core principles are transparency, merit and good governance. It is with continued reform agenda and better economic management, we are able to build stronger economic base, he added.The Finance Minister said that now the focus of the government is to develop Pakistan up to its true potential and there is a great opportunity for Austrian companies to invest in Pakistan’s infrastructure and energy development projects. The policies of the government are aimed at facilitating foreign direct investment in mega projects, he added.
Austrian Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade said that we have unique relations with Pakistan and provide great support at multilateral forums to Pakistan. He said that there is keen desire to further deepen the existing trade and economic relations. He underlined the potential of Austrian private sector in energy and education sectors. He said that the new government has taken impressive steps for reforming of the economy and its economic performance is commendable. He said that going hand in hand with the present Government we would like to offer our expertise in the uplift of the education sector of Pakistan, especially vocational education. We would like to build a low cost and high volume education and training model for Pakistan, he added.
He further said that Austria has expertise in developing clean coal technology and we would also like to help Pakistan in this regard. Both sides agreed to work together in areas of mutual interests.
Varghese also informed the Finance Minister that the Austrian Prime Minister has invited Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for a bilateral visit to Austria at a date convenient to the both sides.