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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Government has constituted a five-member ministerial panel to firm up recommendations on the viability of bifurcation of three large power Distribution Companies (Discos), i.e., Mepco, Pesco and Qesco, sources close to Minister for Energy told **Business Recorder.**

The decision was taken at a federal cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan when the issue of recruitment of CEO Mepco came under discussion.

Mepco was one of the ten Discos under the administrative control of Ministry of Energy (Power Division). Mepco is a Public Sector Company (PSC) as defined under Section 2 (1) (54) of the Companies Act, 2017 (the Act) and Rule 2 (1) (g) of the public sector companies (corporate Governance) Rules, 2013.

The Cabinet was informed that the matters of appointment of the CEO of a PSC were governed under Sections 187 and 1BB of the Act, Rule 5(2) of the CGR and the Public Sector Companies (Appointment of chief Executive) Guidelines, 2015 and fit and proper criteria framed there under.

Mepco BoD initiated the process of appointment of regular CEO and advertised the post on January 06, 2021. The process was challenged by Mepco Engineering Association in the Lahore High Court, Multan Bench.

The LHC issued following orders: “subject to notice and till the next date of hearing, recruitment process on the basis of impugned notification may continue but would not be finalized.” Mepco had re-initiated the process of recruitment of CEO and the post had been re-advertised on December 05, 2021.

According to the Power Division, recruitment process should take some time but the incumbent CEO, Ikramul Haq looking after the work of CEO as a stop gap arrangement, retired on December 25, 2021.

Power Division sought the approval of the Cabinet to assign the charge of CEO Mepco to Allahyar Khan, presently posted as the Chief Engineer, Mepco, as a stop gap arrangement purely on temporary basis till the appointment of regular incumbent.

However, during discussion, the Cabinet Members reiterated the need for bifurcating Mepco as its area of operations was too large, causing difficulties for the residents of southern most districts of Punjab in redressal of their problems.

The Minister for Energy explained that though bifurcation was justified, it could not be done at the moment due to shortage of manpower. He assured that Mepco would be bifurcated once the vacancies were filled.

A Cabinet member contended that the bifurcation should not be linked with increase in manpower as the vacancies could correspondingly be filled in the newly created entity.

It was also pointed out that Qesco and Pesco needed to be bifurcated too since their respective areas of jurisdiction were large as well.

The members suggested forming a committee to holistically look into the viability bifurcation of large Discos.

After detailed discussion, the Cabinet approved appointment of Allahyar Khan as CEO as stop gap arrangements.

The Cabinet also constituted the following committee to firm up and give recommendations on the viability of bifurcation of large Discos, including Mepco, Qesco and Pesco: (i) Minister for Energy (Convener);(ii) Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives; (iii) Minister for Industries & Production ;(iv) Minister for Science & Technology and; (v) Minister for Finance & Revenue.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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