NAB chairman comes into high octane action

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ISLAMABAD: Following a protest by the Aptma (All Pakistan Textile Mills Association) over the crippling loadshedding, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has directed to halt the gas supply to all those captive power plants which are running at less than 50 percent efficiency. This means that the gas supply will be disconnected to all the captive power plants as they all are currently operative in the range of 20-28 percent efficiency. This will help save about 300 million cubic feet gas per day.

The NAB has also decided to initiate a ruthless probe against those captive power plants which are being provided cheaper gas, but they are selling electricity to the NTDC (National transmission Dispatch Company) at exorbitant rates. In case the gas supply gets halted, then industrialists are most likely to take to the streets.

Taking cognizance of excessive loadshedding and suffering of the people, the chairman NAB summoned representatives of allinstructions by the interim government that the priority of supply of gas would start with the general public, followed by efficient power producing companies and lastly “Captive Power Generators”; governmental instructions are being flouted and violated.

Captive Power Generators are units that are provided gas at subsidized rates so that they can provide electricity to industries, a senior official who was part of the meeting told The News.

However, some of the captive power generators are still being provided gas at subsidised rates, but are selling electricity back to the government at full rates, instead of to the industries at subsidised rates; this is an instance of corruption, which is not possible without, at the least criminal negligence and, at the most connivance of government functionaries.

NAB chairman said that the final date of clearing overdue electricity bills is April 19th. All debtors, including governmental organizations must clear their dues or face criminal proceedings. He also maintained that an inquiry will be conducted by NAB to decide whether the decision to provide electricity to tube wells at a flat rate had a criminal aspect or not.

NAB noticed during the meeting that the much touted scheme to win the election carved out by Mr Main Manzoor Ahmad Watoo under which large land holders are provided electricity for tube wells at the flat rate of rupees 8 per unit.

This is resulting in enormous loss to the exchequer and to the suffering of the general public, which is criminal. The scheme would cost the national exchequer huge loss of Rs16.4 billion per annum.

NAB chief directed the regulator (Nepra) to ensure that they perform their assigned role in accordance with the law; failing which NAB will proceed against it. In the meeting it was also noticed that Nepra is not performing and regulating the power sector as its mandate demands.

The service delivery is the responsibility of Nepra meaning by that the provision of electricity through Discos falls under the jurisdiction of Nepra, but regulator is found to keep mum over the massive power outages of 10-12 hours duration in a day. It was also noticed that the figures about line losses, huge dues the private sector owes to it and electricity demand in the country are totally fudged.

The huge dues of electricity which stand at Rs140 billion are found fudged as it has been investigated that over Rs80 billion is over billed which is sheer injustice to the private sector consumers.

He said that NAB will monitor the function of the entire power sector, including SSGCL and SNGPL, to ensure relief of provision of gas to the public at large, as well as maximum efficient power generation, also intended to bring relief to the public at large.

This is the final NAB warning to all individual, government institutions, government functionaries and, if not heeded, criminal proceeding will be initiated by NAB against all violators. Meantime, NAB will look into the role of regulators and government functionaries to decide whether to initiate criminal proceedings against them.

Representatives of Ministries of Water and Power, Finance, Petroleum, FBR, Nepra, Planning Commission, SSGCL, and SNGPL attended the meeting. Another related issue that came to light is the fact that governmental instructions clearly stated that priority of provision of subsidized gas to Independent Power Producers (IPP) would go to those which are efficient power producer having more than 50% efficiency. Again, in violation of these instructions, subsidized gas is still being provided to inefficient IPPs.

Representative of Nepra also pointed that, while Nepra is responsible for fixing the tariff, governmental ministries issue the notification of these tariffs, which is frequently delayed, resulting in losses to the IPP as well as the public at large. In addition, representative of Nepra held the view that, in some instances, line losses and loss due to theft of electricity ranged between 50 to 80 % of the power being produced. Nepra will provide details of these instances to NAB shortly.

The NAB chairman also took on the FBR authorities for the slump in revenues despite the announcement of amnesty scheme. However, FBR representative responded arguing that the field officers did not perform because of the pathetic attitude of the former FBR chairman Mr Ali Arshad Hakeem towards the staff.


Courtesy: The News

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