The United States has reatriated its commitment of helping Pakistan for riding of its crippling energy crisis with financing for electricity projects, in particular for the gigantic Diamer Bhasha Dam project.
The US would provide funds for new and existing hydropower projects, which would increase electricity production by 900 megawatts by the end of 2013, said US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson while talking to the media in Lahore on Monday
He was speaking after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) and American Business Forum (ABF). The memorandum is meant to explore new ways of enhancing bilateral trade between the two countries.
“We always consider Pakistan an important partner of the US,” he said. “We have constituted an energy working group for Pakistan and the US, so far America has financed a major share for upgrading Mangla Dam and will be the biggest financier for Diamer Bhasha Dam.”
Pakistan would see more and more energy projects with US assistance in coming days, he said, believing without solving this issue economic progress might not be achieved.
Discussing the hurdles in the way of bilateral trade, he pointed out that the US and Pakistan had held discussions over the issue and the US was still open to discussing how Pakistan’s products could win better access to US markets.
“We are hopeful about a positive outcome of such meetings and deliberations,” he said. “We want bilateral trade to grow even more in coming years, for this we are working with the business community of Pakistan, different chambers and also encouraging women entrepreneurship to play its role.”
Two-way trade stood at $5 billion in 2011 and Pakistan’s exports to the US were the largest than to any other country in the world.
With a consumer base of 180 million people, a young and educated workforce and a culture of entrepreneurship, Olson saw significant business opportunities in Pakistan for American businesses in an array of sectors, including energy, consumer goods and technology.
The Ambassador also had a tour of Lahore and visited the Lahore fort and Badshahi mosque
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2013.