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Our Correspondent

The News International

Published Date: May 20, 2021

Better coordination key to develop Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: Ghaus Bakhash Marri, Balochistan’s Chief Economist Planning & Development on Wednesday blamed lack of coordination between various government departments as one of the major hurdles in bringing investment in renewable energy projects.

“Besides, security related issues are also an impediment in achieving sustainable development in the province.”

He expressed these views at the public private dialogue “Roadmap for Sustainable Development of Balochistan: Aligning development priorities with Clean Energy Transition pathways”, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Wednesday. He emphasised that ease of doing business must be taken care of to tap the real potential of investment. “There is huge potential of wind energy in coastal belt and solar in the whole of Balochistan. However, the lack of transmission infrastructure and rural electrification is a bottleneck in the development and thus, micro-grid-based rural electrification with collaborative efforts of the public and private stakeholders needs to be explored,” he added. Tauha Hassan Sidiqqui, while representing Balochistan Board of Investment, highlighted Balochistan’s potential of energy, particularly in terms of investment in renewable energy sector, saying that “huge potential of wind corridor that starts from Gwadar and goes up to Makran region, still remains untapped’.

Government strategy was to invite investors in different fields, “and our focus on energy investments” was aimed to uplift Balochistan in terms of “foreign direct investment (FDI) and public-private partnership”, he added.

Energy sector expert, Dr Nadia Farooq, informed the participants that 30 percent of the world energy was expected to be from solar and wind resources in the near future. She said that Asian Development Bank’s project of clean energy in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has supported the remote rural population.

She highlighted that Balochistan’s capacity in renewable energy sector was extremely high; “however, transmission mechanism needs to be addressed on priority basis by the federal and provincial governments”.

Dr Abdul Salam Lodhi, Professor of Economics, BUITEMS, Quetta, while explaining economic potentials of Balochistan in terms of mining, agriculture, tourism, and international trade, said, “The wind corridors in Noshki, Kharan and Killa Saifullah, are ideal locations to explore the real potential of wind energy.”

Director, Bridge Factor, Ashruff Hasan Rana, emphasised on the need for consistency of policy and said that the situation of infrastructure and security needs to be improved in the province. Likewise, Gwadar should be utilised as an opportunity along-with a strong focus on grid up-gradation, he added.