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ISLAMABAD: Top bosses of two key organizations of Power Division on Thursday brushed aside the accusations of over-invoicing in high-power testing of ± 660kV Matiari-Lahore HVDC Transmission Line project leveled by the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum and Power, Tabish Gauhar.

The Managing Director, Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB), Shah Jahan Mirza and acting Managing Director, National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) Muhammad Ayub said that allegations of over-invoicing in the project are unfounded.

Tabish Gauhar during his recent visit to the office of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries Karachi hurled accusation of over-invoicing in ± 660kV Matiari-Lahore HVDC Transmission Line project.

“Expensive projects in previous regimes are contributing heavily to circular debt. Lahore Matiari transmission is an example of such a project. We have to pay Rs 50 billion yearly on this project and the total cost of managing NTDC’s transmission system for the country is nearly the same,” said Tabish Gauhar in a tweet.

When a question regarding allegations of over-invoicing was raised on Thursday at a public hearing conducted to discuss the justification of revision in tariff of Matiari-Lahore transmission line project, the acting Managing Director NTDC said that there are no such allegations against the company.

The Managing Director, PPIB Shah Jahan Mirza, said that the SAPM is holding a position and if he feels there is something wrong then he should investigate it, adding that as far as his information is concerned, he has no such evidence.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to officially seek a copy of the statement of Tabish Gauhar delivered in FPCCI, Karachi, from PEMRA and analyze it in light of clause 31(a) of the NAB Ordinance and subsequently let the law take its course.

A dispute between NTDC and the Chinese company M/s PMLTC, was recently sorted out through amendment to the Implementation Agreement (IA) after a high-level interventions that led to an extension of the Required Commercial Operate Date (RCOD) of $ 1.7 billion ± 660kV HVDC Matiari to Lahore Transmission Line Project by six months.

The Chinese company was also scheduled to commence Commercial Operation Date (COD) of the project from September 1, 2021 but during the hearing it was stated that this is unlikely to be achieved and in case of any delay, the Chinese company may be penalized. The Chinese company wants an upward revision in tariff to generate an additional Rs 14 billion. However, the acting MD NTDC said that there would be no revision in tariff.

During the course of hearing differences were witnessed between the representative of Chinese company, NTDC and PPIB.

Informed sources told Business Recorder that National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) is under pressure to accommodate tariff revision’s request of the Chinese company, which established the project under the CPEC.

The answers of Chinese company’s representative to the questions framed by the Nepra’s technical team were seen as unsatisfactory.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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