Economics & Business

Senate body told power sector circular debt climbs to 144 blns

ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources was told that the circular debt of the power sector reached Rs 144 billion and could be reached Rs. 285 billion up to June, which would adversely effect to the oil supply chain. The committee was also briefed that most of the decisions, taken by the Energy Summit Conference, are still pending and not a single step has so far been taken towards. The committee met headed by its chairman Senator Sabir Hussain Bloch here at Parliament House on Monday.

The Additional Secretary of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources Chaudhry Ijaz briefed the committee on alarming situation of circular debt of the power sector and called it as main hurdle in the improvement of the sector. He cautioned the committee members the circular debt will surged from Rs.144 billion to Rs.285 billion up to last month of the current fiscal year if the issue is not resolved ,adding it will not only adversely effect to oil supply chain but also difficult for the government to control it.

Regarding the status of implementation on the decisions, taken by the Energy Summit Conference held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani, Ijaz Chaudhry told the meeting that a review meeting was held last three months ago, in which the participants were told except the payment to the PEPCO to reduce the circular debt made by Finance Ministry, most of decisions were not implemented. The conference had decided the provinces have to pay money to the PEPCO for reducing the circular debt but it is still pending, he further stated.

He said that the circular debt in the power sector will badly hurt to the OGDCL and PSO adding that the matter should be resolved on war footing. He said it is not a permanent solution that when the oil supply chain become disturb and government come for rescue and inject a small amount for avoiding the closure of the oil supply. He made it clear that the power sector required liquidity and the matter should be resolved for one time on permanent bases.

On the occasion, the MD Pakistan State Oil (PSO) Irfan Qureshi told the meeting the oil supply chain has been restored and a crisis over now, which was affected by worse flood and law and order situation in Karachi last month. He said The PSO lost Rs. 200 million during flood PARCO resumed full production.

Regarding the stock availability of oil for current month of October, Irfan Qureshi told the meeting the country’s demand for October is 190, 000 metric tons while the availability of stock is 280,000 metric tons.

Responding a quarry regarding the transparency in PSO, point out by Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) he said that the organization has not authority to comment on the procedure of the PSO. He told the committee the leader of the TIP Adil Gillani was fired from Karachi Port of Trust (KPT) on corruption in 1995 and now he is blackmailing the government on transparency issue.

The committee expressed concern over the circular debt in power sector and said that it should be eliminated on permanent bases. The committee directed to the officials that they come with different proposals to curtail the circular debt which is adversely affecting the efficiency of power sector.

Senator Safdar Abbasi, member of the committee proposed for conveying joint session of Senate’s three standing committee including the Standing Committee on Finance, the Standing Committee on Water and Power and the Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources to discuss the circular debt issue.-SANA

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Haroon Akram Gill

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