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LAHORE: The Working Group on privatization of the power distribution companies (DISCOs) is set to hold its very first meeting on Thursday (today) to formulate recommendations for the Board of the Privatization Commission (PC), said sources.

The commission issued a formal notification regarding constitution of the Working Group that would be chaired by Secretary of the Commission. The Group also included a Director General and Consultant from the Commission, Additional Director from the Power Division, Central Power Purchase Agreement Guaranteed (CPPAG), National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) and the World Bank energy specialist for South Asia. The very first meeting would take place at the office of the World Bank.

The spokesperson of the Commission confirmed the constitution of the Group, saying that a milestone has been achieved towards the privatization of DISCOs as a Working Group has finally been notified in the light of input from the Board members of the Constitution. She said the Commission had requested all the Board members to give their input on the subject, which would be thrashed out by the Working Group for the PC Board and finally the Cabinet Committee on Privatization.

She said the privatization of DISCOs would gather momentum with the functioning of the Working Group which is likely to finalize recommendations as early as possible. When asked about the deadline, she said, the Working Group would complete the task within four weeks.

Earlier, multiple inter-ministerial meetings have taken place to discuss in detail the privatization process for DISCOs and constitution of the Working Group is an outcome of this whole exercise. The Working Group is consisted of all the stakeholders that would map out the privatization exercise and finally structure it for the Board. It may be noted that the world banking is providing a constant assistance to the Commission to achieve the goal.

It may be noted that the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) has already forwarded data to the Commission regarding financial, technical and commercial highlights of DISCOs. The PEPCO has constituted a four-member committee on January 11, 2021, to complete the task on the direction of Energy (Power Division).

Meanwhile, there is a lot of hue and cry on the part of the staff of DISCOs, saying that they would not let the government to privatize DISCOs. In the last week of January, electricity workers had observed “protest day against privatization” across the country under the aegis of All Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union CBA by holding rallies and processions including Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar, Islamabad, Jhelum, Chakwal and other cities.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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