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ISLAMABAD: Petroleum Division has testified before a panel of Public Account Committee (PAC) that an amount of Rs.60 billion is recoverable from power plants on account of Gas Development Surcharge (GDS).

According to the minutes of PAC panel headed by Shahida Akhtar Ali MNA, the Audit apprised the Committee that Director General (Gas) did not recover GDS of Rs6.384 billion from M/s Mari Gas Company Limited for the year 2008-09.

The default further attracted levy of interest @ 15 per cent per annum amounting to Rs 404.7 million, raising the recoverable amount to Rs 6.789 billion. The Audit further apprised the Committee that the principal amount has been recovered; however, interest of Rs. 404.693 million is pending on account of GDS. The Audit also apprised that the matter may be resolved in the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, MNA attended the meeting through video link. He highlighted an important issue of delayed import of LNG which will surely have serious repercussions on shortage of petroleum product in November and December, 2021 besides price hike.

PAC to probe costly purchase of LNG

According to him, this reflects bad governance and somebody has to be held responsible as billions of rupees' loss will be incurred therefrom. He; therefore, suggested that an exclusive meeting would be convened to discuss this specific issue because export industries are being closed down and other industries are also facing closure; thereby arrangements for supply of gas must be made.

The Principal Accounting Officer (PAO), Petroleum Division has admitted that Power Division could not get timely bids for import of LNG. He stated that government is working on alternate strategies to overcome possible shortages in coming months.

Petroleum Division: PAC body examines audit reports

The PAO Petroleum Division also apprised the Committee that as per PAC directions reconciliation has been done with NPCL; however, reconciliation could not be done with PPL due to legal issues or some other disputes. These issues are to be settled only through book adjustment after sitting together with all the parties involved from both sides of Petroleum Division and Power Division. Main disputes are on the amount of Late Payment Surcharge; however, circular debt had declined as compared to last year.

The PAO, Power Division stressed the need to devise a dispute resolving mechanism. The DG (Gas) apprised the Committee that in overall transactions, an amount of Rs. 60 billion is recoverable from power plants on account of GDS. An amount of Rs. 10 billion is outstanding against Late Payment Surcharge against Guddu Power Plant and Foundation Power plant.

The PAO, Power Division would determine the liability of LPS on the part of Guddu Power Plant which will be transferred in the name of SSGCL. In case, in future, Guddu Power Plant is privatized the recoverable amount of Petroleum Division shall automatically stand recovered/settled.

The panel has directed that a permanent Reconciliation Committee be established to be headed by the PAO Petroleum Division and consisting of one expert each from the Audit, Finance Division, Law & Justice Division and technical experts from all sides relating to Petroleum Division and Power Division. All sorts of technical and complicated issues shall be referred to it for resolution. The Committee shall regularly meet with its specific agenda and schedule under the guidance of Petroleum Division. PAO, Power Division will also be consulted in this regard, if required.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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