ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has constituted a Standing Committee on payments to Chinese Independent Power Producers (IPPs), as well as other issues related to different ministries, well informed sources told Business Recorder.
The receivables stock of Chinese IPPs is over Rs 300 billion due to which they are unable to import coal and meet other payment obligations.
On instructions of the prime minister, a meeting was convened by the finance minister with the Chinese IPPs on September 9 to work out a payment schedule of the outstanding dues. Minister Power, Minister Planning, SAPM Syed Tariq Fatemi, SAPM Zafaruddin Mahmood, and secretary Power, special secretary Finance and concerned officials attended.
The finance minister briefed the IPPs about the reasons for delay in payment and the plan to pay the outstanding dues. The Chinese IPPs highlighted their payment obligations and pending dues. They also pointed out the difficulties in foreign remittances to discharge their liabilities.
The finance minister constituted a working group under secretary Power to finalize the modalities and payment schedule. He assured them that the first tranche would be released in the coming week.
A couple of months ago, prime minister had issued instructions for resolution of issues being faced by the Chinese IPPs, but the concerned ministries failed to sort out their issues which reportedly irritated the PM Secretariat.
The sources said PM Secretariat also sought clarifications from both the Power Division and finance minister for reportedly not honouring PM’s instructions.
On September 13, SAPM on Government Effectiveness, Jehanzeb Khan in a note to the prime minister proposed to create a forum in which concerned government functionaries and the IPPs meet every fortnight to reconcile payments and work out the next tranche. This would create an atmosphere of confidence and mutual trust - so important for public private partnerships.
He further contended that a Standing Committee on payment to IPPs be constituted with additional Power-Convener and representatives (not below the rank of BPS-20) from Finance, Planning. FBR, BO, EAD, CPPA-G, and CEO/ Country Director of the relevant IPP as members.
Terms of References for Committee will be as follows: (i) to reconcile out-standing payments and prepare a schedule of payments; (ii) to assist the IPPs in resolution of any other matter pertaining to any other federal or provincial government; (iii) the committee will meet fortnightly and share minutes with PM Office; and (iv) the Committee, if deemed necessary, may add ToRs under intimation to PM Office.
The sources said prime minister has approved constitution of a Standing Committee to resolve issues of Chinese IPPs.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022