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ISLAMABAD: The Hub Power Company (Hubco) has sought permanent exemption from applicability of the International Financial Reporting Standards-9 (IFRS-9) for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) due to the prevailing situation with regard to circular debt.

The company’s CEO, Kamran Kamal, has written a letter to chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in relation to the notification issued by the commission on Sept 13, 2021, bearing reference No. S.R.O. 1177(l)2021, through which exemption from the application of Expected Credit Loss (ECL) method under IFRS-9 available to companies holding financial assets due from the government of Pakistan in respect of circular debt was extended till June 30, 2022.

According to the power company, the circular debt situation has continued to worsen as huge receivables have accumulated on the books of Hubco and other lPPs. This is happening even after steps have been taken to settle circular debt through settlements under the PPA amendment agreements signed with many IPPs, wherein outstanding balances have been partially settled through payments in instalments. However, a lot more still needs to be done to resolve the issue of circular debt.

“It is believed that the complete resolution of circular debt will take some years depending upon the government’s course of actions,” added Kamran Kamal.

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“IFRS-9 requires us to recognise a loss for the overdue receivables due mainly because of their ageing. Hubco’s overdue amounts from CPPA(G) are not by its own choice but is the direct result of circular debt. The application of the impairment model provided in IFRS-9 will result in huge impairment losses on these late overdue amounts resulting in significant dilution of profitability and erosion of our retained earnings.

“Therefore, the company has requested Power Division to recommend to SECP for a permanent exemption from the application of IFRS-9 on the trade debts on the same grounds as were applicable previously, some of which are as follows: (i) the application of IFRS-9 will increase the variability of IPPs results from one period to another due to the abnormal payment pattern being followed by the Government of Pakistan. This volatility in results from one period to another may give misleading results to the users of the financial statements.

“Furthermore, as there is no firm timeline from CPPA-G for settlement of these receivables, it would be very difficult to estimate the loss. Also, different assumptions by different companies and auditors will significantly affect the comparability of numbers between different companies; (ii) impairment on government-guaranteed receivable will deteriorate the credibility of the GoP (Government of Pakistan).

“This will send a negative image of GoP to domestic and international investors and can hamper future foreign direct investments;(iii) large impairment losses due to the application or IFRS-9 will deteriorate the already declining capital markets of the country as a result of panic amongst the shareholders of these lPPs; (iv) the impairment loss will also adversely impact the lenders’ covenants and may result in breach of loan covenants.

“This will also negatively impact the ability of IPPs to borrow money in these times of financial crunch; (v) application of lFRS-9 will restrict the ability of lPPs to declare dividends to their shareholders. IPPs are already severely suffering from the circular debt issue and will face additional negative financial impacts of impairment losses on their receivables which will hamper their ability to pay dividends to their shareholders as the impairment losses recognised will lower their available profits for distribution,” the letter states.

M/s Hubco maintained that keeping in view the prevailing circumstances, the ministry should facilitate in obtaining a permanent exemption for all lPPs facing circular debt issue from the application of lFRS-9 by recommending to the SECP for issuing a requisite notification under the powers provided in Section 225(3) of the Companies Act, 2017.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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