Austrian Foreign Minister Alexender Schallenberg visited WAPDA House in eastern city of Lahore on Friday to discuss ways for partenering with Pakistan for the construiction of mega projects in water and hydro power sectors.
He was accopanied by Austrian Ambassador to Pakistan Nicolaus Keller and a high level Austrian Business delegation.
This was the maiden visit of such a high-profile dignitary from a European country to WAPDA House along with a large delegation comprising senior officials of leading firms hailing from Austria.
The Chairman briefed delegation of WAPDA’s mandate, its development portfolio, financial strength and expertise to successfully implement mega projects.
Giving a rundown of under-construction projects, he said that WAPDA is implementing as many as 10 projects of more than US$26 billion under the vision “Decade of Dams” to be completed from 2022 to 2028-29 in a phased manner, adding 11.7 million acre feet of water to the existing water storage capacity and 11,369 megawatt (MW) to the installed generating capacity of clean, green and low-cost hydel electricity.
WAPDA projects, Diamer Basha Dam in particular, have tremendous business opportunities. The Austrian firms, like other foreign and local companies, may benefit from these opportunities by participating in international competitive processes for the purpose, he further said.
Referring to the successful launch of debut Green Euro Bond in London Stock Exchange last year by WAPDA on the back of its robust capital structure and strong balance sheet, the Chairman said that WAPDA has devised an innovative financing strategy with no or meagre reliance on the national exchequer to construct its projects particularly Diamer Basha Dam, Mohmand Dam and Dasu Hydropower Project.
This reflects strong ties of WAPDA with prestigious financial institutions from across the globe particularly in US, Europe and Asia including China and Middle East, he added.
The Austrian Foreign Minister appreciated WAPDA for its contribution towards development of a sustainable and low-carbon economy of Pakistan, adding that he is pleased to know about WAPDA’s portfolio of development projects. He expressed the hope that Austrian firms will make use of the opportunities embedded in these projects and become partner of WAPDA in mutual progress.