By BBC Monitoring
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan is in dire need of generating cheaper electricity as the country's annual energy import bill had touched $27bn ,The Nation newspaper reported.
Sharif made the remarks on 5 December while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the refurbished Mangla Dam Hydroelectric Power Plant, the report said.
The project is carried out with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The prime minister said Pakistan was "already facing immense challenges on the economic front, [and] could not bear the heavy costs of energy import bills and thus needed to utilise alternative sources of electricity production", according to the report.
He highlighted that in 75 years, both democratic and military rulers were responsible for not building sufficient dams to meet the energy needs, the report said.
"Had the water reservoirs built on time, the country's energy import bill would not have swelled to $27bn," the report quoted Sharif as saying.
Source: The Nation website, Islamabad, in English 1027 gmt 6 Dec 22