Serena Hotel, January 7, 2011
I am delighted to be here today to sign the agreements for the Satpara Dam and the Gomal Zam Dam. Both of these Signature Energy projects are funded with Kerry Lugar Berman funding and were announced by Secretary Clinton during her visits to Pakistan last year. The completion of these two dams will bring significant improvements to the lives of the people in these communities, including new economic development opportunities.
The two projects we are announcing today -- the Gomal Zam Dam in South Waziristan and Satpara Dam in Gilgit-Baltistan -- are dams that were abandoned before they could be completed. Now, due to a $66 million investment from the United States, these multipurpose dams will finally serve the communities they were designed to benefit.
The Gomal Zam dam is located in South Waziristan. With U.S. funding, WAPDA will now be able to complete the 17.4 mega watt hydro power transmission station which will provide electricity to 25,000 households in the South Wazairistan and the FATA and which will be connected to Pakistan’s national grid. This project will be completed by November 2011 and we hope that we will see more people in this region enjoy the benefits and opportunities of electricity.
The Satpara hydro power dam project will provide electricity to 30,000 households in the Gilgit Baltistan region with 17.7 mega watts. This project will be done in two phases and will also have the added benefit of providing much needed irrigation to 15,500 acres of land in the Skardo community.
In addition, the two dams will also help control flooding, an important improvement after last year’s devastating floods. According to the Water and Power Development Authority, damage to Pakistan would have been far more catastrophic without its existing dams. These are significant projects that will deliver significant results to the people of Pakistan,
Energy shortfalls affect every Pakistani regardless of social economic status and from every geographic corner of Pakistan’s territory. We recognize Pakistan’s need for improved energy infrastructure and sectoral reforms. Pakistan’s economic stability and increased prosperity relies on the energy sector’s ability to efficiently deliver power to its people and industries. While it is difficult to undertake needed reforms, the United States stands ready to help Pakistan through its reform efforts with long-term support.
Under the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, we have discussed energy issues on several occasions and from those discussions we have seen plans develop regarding reforms and privatization. The U.S. will support Pakistan’s efforts to continue with these reforms and help Pakistan overcome this crisis.
The United States is proud to offer this assistance as part of our long-term partnership with Pakistan. And, on a personal note, I know that Ambassador Richard Holbrooke believed in these projects and the ways that they will help the Pakistani people. Ambassador Holbrooke dedicated much of his time and effort to improving the quality of life for millions of people in Pakistan and in the region. The U.S. government is committed to continuing Ambassador Holbrooke’s work and the close partnership that he so vigorously endeavored to build between the United States and Pakistan.
We are committed to a comprehensive and enduring partnership with the Pakistani people and government, based on our common interests and animated by mutual respect.
Secretary Iqbal and Chairman Durrani, thank you for joining me here today.