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ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Power grilled Power Division on Tuesday for appointing ‘ineligible’ individuals as Members of Distribution Companies (Discos) Boards, and paying millions of dollars to M/s General Electric (GE).

Presided over by Senator Saif Ullah Abro, the committee spent an hour grilling the officials of Power Division for not complying with the recommendations of the Standing Committee.

Chairman Standing Committee also criticized Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Khan for not attending Committee meetings since he took charge of Minister for Power. He announced that the committee would not consider any legislation until the minister is present in the meeting. He further revealed that he has written a letter to Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani about the attitude of the minister and asked for his presence in the meetings.

The Senate Standing Committee on Power on Tuesday, Bill titled ‘The Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2022,’ as passed by the National Assembly, moved by Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, Minister for Law and Justice on behalf of Khurram Dastagir Khan, Minister for Power in the Senate sitting held on 18 August, 2022 and referred by the House to the committee for consideration and report was deferred due to absence of the minister.

“The federal minister for Power has been continuously absent from the committee meeting for the last seven months,” said chairman standing committee. The committee showed resentment on the non-participation of the minister in the committee meetings, he said they can show presence in talk’s shows but unfortunately can’t attend the meeting.

Other committee members including Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Haji Hidayatullah Khan and Senator Zeeshan Khanzada supported chairman standing committee.

On the issue of Guddu 747 MW Combined Cycle Power Plant, chairman standing committee said he would not only recover the amount paid to M/s GE but also the financial loss of Rs 40 billion due to closure of plant.

Central Power Purchasing Generation Company (CPGCL) (GENCO-II) Guddu had signed a contract service agreement with M/s General Electric (GE) OEM, with respect to 747MW combined cycle power plant Guddu for a period of 16 years. Under the agreement GE is responsible for scheduled inspection, supply of initial spares, diagnostics and online performance monitoring, O&M advisory services, asset performance management, operational excellence system as these are included in the scope of covered maintenance.

Chairman Standing Committee warned the officials that he would send the case to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) if concerned officials do not cooperate in the recovery of this loss from M/s GE.

Chairman Standing Committee inquired from NEPRA Chairman Tauseef H Farooqi as to what should be the criteria for selection of members of boards of Discos; the latter responded that the members of Board should be experts in their respective sectors.

The committee members raised questions about the eligibility of some members of Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO), Peshawar Electric Supply Company (SEPCO) and Sukkur Electric Supply Company (SEPCO).

Chairman Standing Committee also raised an objection on one of the Members of MEPCO due to conflict of interest. Secretary Power, Rashid Langrial pledged to investigate the matter and report to the Committee.

In reply to a question by Senator Shibli Faraz, secretary Power said the volume of circular debt was Rs 2.4 trillion, but did not provide any details.

Chairman standing committee urged officials not to be afraid of politicians and to perform their duties honestly. He claimed that he had recovered Rs 16 billion of power sector.

The committee noted that due to non-operation of two power plants, the treasury suffered a loss of 42 billion rupees. GENCO Holding Company had to increase the capacity of power plants, instead of capacity building, Gencos fleet was drowned. The committee lamented that the Gencos production went down from 7,000 MW to 2100 MW.

According to official press release, the officials of the Power Division said the cabinet approves the board. Senator Fida Muhammad said without the presence of the Power minister, the issue of presence of incompetent people in the board cannot be solved. The officials of the power division informed that Chairman of the PEPCO Board Rahim Yar Khan was the head of the chamber, chairman committee inquired whether he has any expertise about the power sector.

Chairman committee further observed that there are two IT companies of one of the member of board who take contracts from power sector companies. The chairman committee said Power Division should investigate the matter if it creates conflict of interest. It was also noted that head of CNG Association of Bahawalpur has also been appointed as a member of the board and an official of the Agricultural Development Bank is also a board member, “Only one person in MEPCO’s BOD is technical, chairman committee.” The chairman committee reiterated that the meeting of the committee is conducted beyond party loyalty.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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