SCOTTISH engineering companies are expected to share in more than $700 million (£450m) worth of contracts that will be unveiled this week when the governor of the Pakistani province of Sindh visits the Central Belt.
It is understood that Dr Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan will announce the building of a desalination plant to provide 36 billion gallons of drinking water to Karachi each year.
Over its lifetime, the facility is expected to generate revenue of more than $14 billion through maintenance and operation contracts.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the water treatment plant is due to be struck this week, with MoUs for similar projects expected to reach some $16.2bn in total.
Ebad is visiting the UK as part of a delegation of provincial and federal ministers and will be accompanied by a number of representatives from businesses in Karachi.
He is also expected to announce the launch of a “free zone” in his province for companies looking to set up manufacturing bases to export to the UK.
His visit will include meetings with Scottish Government ministers at Holyrood.
As well as unveiling the water desalination contract, the delegation will also be given a presentation by Scottish Development International (SDI), Scottish Enterprise’s overseas division, on the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy industry.
Some £110bn will need to be invested in the UK’s ageing energy infrastructure before 2030, according to the UK government’s electricity market reform programme.
Ebad became Sindh’s youngest governor when he took up office in 2002 and is now the longest-serving leader of any of Pakistan’s provinces.
Sindh is the second-most heavily populated province in Pakistan, with some 60 million residents, 17 million of whom live in Karachi, the country’s largest city and its financial heart.
Many Scottish companies are already operating in the state, including Glasgow-based temporary power supplier Aggreko, which counts the Karachi Electric Supply Company among the customers for its temporary power plants.
Winning a share of the massive water contract in Pakistan would give a boost to Scotland’s flagging manufactured exports.
Official data released last week by the Scottish Government and the Office for Statistics revealed that exports dropped by 0.6 per cent during the three months to 31 March.
Commenting on the figures, Anne MacColl, SDI’s chief executive, said: “Together with our colleagues in the Scottish Manufacturing & Advisory Service, SDI is committed to helping home-grown manufacturing companies adapt to the changing patterns of international trade by targeting a range of overseas markets that offer significant growth opportunities.
“By doing so, we can help more companies realise their international trade plans, ultimately driving home long-term sustainable growth for the Scottish economy.”
Scottish engineering companies are already competing on a global stage, with Aberdeen-based energy services giant Wood Group winning contracts in the Middle East and the United States and Glasgow pumps and gears specialist Weir Group securing work in the gas “fracking” market in North America.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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