Mr. Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, Additional Chief Secretary (Energy) Government of the Punjab; Mr. Qaisar Zaman, CEO, Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO); Mission Director Greg Gottlieb; Mr. Saqib Jamal, Principal of the Regional Training Center; LESCO Staff; Colleagues from the Power Distribution Program; Members of the Media and Distinguished Guests–Asalam-u-Alaikum!
Thank you for the warm welcome!
It gives me great pleasure to be here today to witness yet another initiative by our colleagues at the United States Agency for International Development in support of Pakistan’s energy sector.
On behalf of the United States Government, I am pleased to join the management and staff of the Lahore Electric Supply Company at the inauguration of the information technology lab here at the LESCO Regional Training Center. While providing IT skills to the staff of LESCO, this center will serve as a base from which to introduce new technologies that will improve the operations of LESCO and the delivery of power to consumers.
I would also like to acknowledge the presence of Mr. Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, Additional Chief Secretary for Energy in the Government of the Punjab. I have learned in my time here in Lahore how hard both he and Chief Minister Sharif are working, every day, to find creative yet practical solutions to the challenges you face in your energy sector. We could not hope to have a more dynamic partner than the government of the Punjab; truly, their commitment to finding solutions to your energy challenges is commendable. We will continue to support their efforts.
Improving the performance of the energy sector is one of the top priorities for the United States Government.
I am proud of the role we have played for many years to support the development of Pakistan’s energy sector. In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States supported construction of the Tarbela and Mangla power plants; in the 1980s, we worked together to build a power plant at Guddu. Since 2009, we have added 1,500MW of generation capacity to the grid. We have helped Pakistan carry out its rural electrification plans, and we have trained thousands of energy sector specialists over the years.
Through our energy assistance programs, the U.S. Government is helping to improve policies, renovate and build plants, and strengthen the operations of key elements in the power generation and distribution system so that power shortages can be reduced over time, and eventually eliminated.
The challenges are formidable, but I believe that with the commitment and dedication of key stakeholders, Pakistan’s power shortages will one day be a thing of the past. It is through improvements such as the one we are celebrating today, that the problems will be resolved.
I want to applaud the Punjab government, LESCO’s management, the leadership and staff of its Regional Training Center, and all the specialists of this power distribution company for contributing their skills and energies to reduce power shortages in Punjab and the country through the improvements in company operations.
Ultimately, our work is about supporting the people of Punjab and Pakistan in achieving a more prosperous future. The United States supports the Punjab government’s efforts to ensure that the fruits of development will benefit all its citizens.