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Balochistan govt to invest in oil and mineral companies.

QUETTA, May 22 -- The Balochistan government has chalked out a comprehensive plan to secure its financial resources by investing in major oil, gas and mineral exploration companies operating in the province.

An official handout issued on Friday said Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani had taken all his cabinet colleagues on board and necessary directives had been issued to the finance and law departments for suggesting legislation in order to ensure safe utilisation of such assets.

The Balochistan government will make the best use of its financial resources, which it is going to receive as arrears out of the gas development surcharge and allocations from the NFC Award.

The chief minister desires that after earmarking necessary funds for development and non-development expenditures, efforts will also be made to apportion a sizeable amount of money to buy major shares in the Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), the Oil and Gas development Company Limited (OGDCL), Gwadar Port Trust and the Gwadar Free Trade Zone.

Investing: The strategy envisioned by Raisani aims at investing the funds in financially sound and secure corporate units for a long-term, sustainable income, the handout said.

In addition, it said the foremost objective of the provincial government would be to take full control of Reko-Diq Copper and Gold Project from its present operators, M/s Tethyan Copper Company, and thereafter the provincial government would run the project itself. The provincial government has also decided to take control of the Saindak Copper and Gold Project once the agreement with Metallurgical Construction Company China (MCCC) expires in October 2011.

"The Balochistan cabinet in its meeting on December 24, 2009 unanimously decided not to go ahead with the proposed Mineral and Shareholder Agreement with TCCP after the expiry of the exploration licence issued to BHP," the handout said.

The government has already constituted a board of governors (BoG) to oversee the project headed by Dr Samar Mubarakmand. Other members of BoG from the government of Balochistan include the additional chief secretary (development), the secretaries of finance, mines and minerals, and the industries and commerce departments.

Besides these, the Reko-Diq project director will serve as a member or secretary and the president of the Balochistan Mines Owner Association will represent the private sector.

Raisani said has been asked to chair the inaugural meeting of the BoG scheduled during the next week. The meeting will discuss the role of TCC in the project, if any, the source of funding for the Reko-Diq project, and linking the government of Balochistan's share to the income from the Saindak Project. The handout further said that the people of Balochistan had mandated the present democratic government to safeguard the interests of the people of Balochistan.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Daily Times. For more information on news feed please contact Sarabjit Jagirdar at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

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Publication:Daily Times (Lahore, Pakistan)
Date:May 22, 2010
Words:481
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