ADB to invest $2 billion in Pakistan’s energy sector

In this file photo, pedestrians walk past a logo of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) displayed outside its headquarters in Manila on Sept. 2, 2010. (AFP)
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Updated 12 December 2019

ADB to invest $2 billion in Pakistan’s energy sector

  • Pakistan’s energy sector is facing a cash shortfall of Rs12 billion per month, down from Rs39 billion
  • ADB is interested in facilitating technical studies for gas storage facilities

KARACHI: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) plans to invest $2 billion in Pakistan’s energy sector within the next three years, as the South Asian nation’s power supply chain is paralyzed by Rs12 billion a month in circular debt, the Ministry of Energy said in a statement.
After a Wednesday meeting with Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, the ADB’s team, headed by its director for Central and West Asia, Werner Liepach, also expressed interest in facilitating technical studies for gas storage, as Pakistan is facing a gas deficit.
The Asian lender this week released $1 billion to shore up Pakistan’s public finances and help strengthen its slowing economy, while another $300 million were released to help the government address financial sustainability, governance, and energy infrastructure policy constraints in the energy sector.
In July, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a three-year $6 billion extended fund facility (EFF) to finance the government’s economic reform program that aims to put Pakistan’s economy on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth. The bailout program is expected to catalyze at least $38 billion in financing from Pakistan’s development partners.
The ADB, Pakistan’s top energy sector partner with a $2.1 billion portfolio discussed energy sector projects with the ministry’s Power Division, and it was decided that a comprehensive portfolio review meeting will be held by the end of this month.
The ADB team was apprised of the New Renewable Energy Policy, which will be placed before Pakistan’s Council of Common Interest (CCI) in its scheduled meeting by the end of the month. The team was briefed on various steps that have been undertaken to boost the efficiency of the system and campaign against power theft, the ministry’s statement said, adding that the government’s circular debt capping plan has reduced the debt’s growth from Rs39 billion a month to Rs12 billion. 
On Dec. 6, Liepach observed that Pakistan’s “is a longstanding chronic issue ailing the country’s power sector.”
“A comprehensive and realistic Circular Debt Reduction Plan, assisted by ADB in close coordination with other development partners, is the cornerstone of this subprogram. The plan aims to drastically cut the new flows of circular debt and provides policy directions on addressing accumulated circular debt,” he said.

Lufthansa to cut more jobs as it loses €500m a month

Updated 22 September 2020

Lufthansa to cut more jobs as it loses €500m a month

  • The largest German airline says it now plans to reduce its fleet by 150 planes by 2025

FRANKFURT: Lufthansa said Monday it will slash more jobs on top of 22,000 previously announced cuts and put more planes out of service with current losses running at some €500 million ($590 million) a month.

With demand set to be lower than expected through winter as the coronavirus pandemic continues to severely curtail travel, the airline said it now plans to reduce its fleet by 150 planes by 2025.

It had previously estimated it would have to scrap 100 aircraft in response to the unprecedented crisis in the aviation sector.

Lufthansa, which received a government bailout worth €9 billion in June, said it would have to book 1.1 billion in impairment over its fleet decision.

And “the previously announced personnel surplus amounting to 22,000 full-time positions will increase as a result of the decisions taken,” it said.

The group did not give a figure for further job cuts, but said it would engage in talks with labor representatives to “limit the number of necessary redundancies.”

Managers will also be hit, with one in five management positions to go in the first quarter of 2021.

A resurgence in infections across Europe meant that after a brief uptick in demand over the summer months, Lufthansa’s previous assumption that demand could reach half of last year’s “no longer seems realistic.”

Germany is also planning new rules from October, requiring travelers arriving from risk zones to go into quarantine for at least five days before taking a test.

That would essentially rule out intra-Europe weekend city hops — something which had resumed over the summer months.

“The continuing high level of uncertainty in global air traffic makes short-term adjustments to the current market situation unavoidable for the foreseeable future,” said the group.

As part of its fleet reduction, the airline said it has been forced to put its eight remaining A380s as well as 10 A340-600s into deep storage.

Six A380s had already been taken out of service earlier this year.