Meeting on power crisis lost in the dark | Pakistan Today

Meeting on power crisis lost in the dark

Waking up at last to the fact that the recent onslaught of power outages needed some serious thinking and planning, a ministerial meeting convened by the Finance Ministry promptly dissolved into further confusion that required the formation of another committee to give recommendations on how to counter massive load shedding.
The specially convened meeting brought together Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain, Water and Power Minister Naveed Qamar, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Nadeemul Haque, the finance secretary and other senior officials of the Ministries of Finance, Water and Power and Petroleum. An official source said the meeting observed that the failure to implement determined tariffs and delays in payments of subsidy were exacerbating the problem.
The meeting ended up forming a sub-committee to finalise recommendations for a solution.
The meeting was called to assess the accurate situation of the circular debt, power tariff subsidy and dues that would be presented before the International Monetary Fund to get financial assistance from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for power sector reforms. The source said the meeting failed to devise any strategy on the dues from the provinces and other government departments. The dues of the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) from the provinces and government departments alone were said to be over Rs 80 billion. The main defaulters were the provincial governments of Sindh and Balochistan. In total, PEPCO receivables from defaulters are close to Rs 300 billion.
In the last three years, Pakistan’s installed electricity generation capacity has risen from 18,000 megawatts to over 21,000MW on June 30. The demand has also risen from 15,000MW to 18,000MW. However, the generation remains limited between 13,000MW and 14,000MW. Since the government has no money to pay for fuel supplies to independent power producers, the available capacity could not be added to the national grid. An official statement said that measures to ensure the financial sustainability of the power sector were discussed in detail.



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