Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif has authorized the import of top-quality coal from Afghanistan in rupees to preserve Pakistan’s foreign reserves.
The premier presided over a meeting to strengthen the country’s transportation system for the coal imported from Afghanistan and voiced concerns about the commodity’s burgeoning prices in international markets. He contended that importing coal from Afghanistan will provide inexpensive power besides helping the government save money.
وزیر اعظم نے ملک کا قیمتی زرمبادلہ بچانے کے لیے افغانستان سے اعلی کوالٹی (Super Critical) کا کوئلہ ڈالرز کی بجائے روپوں میں درآمد کرنے کی منظوری دی۔ اس سے نہ صرف سستی بجلی پیدا کرنے بلکہ ملک کا قیمتی زرمبادلہ بچانے میں مدد ملے گی۔
— Prime Minister's Office (@PakPMO) June 27, 2022
Prior to this, PM Sharif had been told that the procurement of coal from Afghanistan initially required for the Sahiwal and Hub power facilities alone would save more than $2 billion in annual imports. He had urged all the concerned authorities to establish an effective system for this function so that domestic consumers and the industry may be relieved by generating cost-efficient power in the country.
Subsequently, the Prime Minister had directed the Ministry of Railways to put in all the necessary efforts to expedite logistics for coal supplied from Afghanistan to power plants in Pakistan. He had also instructed the formation of a committee led by the Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif to accelerate the import process.
Pakistan’s power sector uses a significant share of coal for power generation. Domestic coal production in FY21 was approximately 9.3 million tons, and nearly 18.9 million tons of coal were imported. Furthermore, 12.21 million metric tons of coal were imported during July-February of the outgoing fiscal year. The power sector uses most of the coal and its share was 44.5 percent between July and March this fiscal year.