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A parliamentary panel Wednesday directed the Ministry of Finance to avert the expected default of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) by making all-out efforts to recover Rs71 billion outstanding dues of the company against various consumers, especially power plants.
The subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee met here under the chairmanship of Syed Naveed Qamar to discuss and review audit paras of Ministry of Energy, Power Division, of the fiscal year 2016-17.
Audit officials informed the panel that Rs71 billion against various consumers, especially power plants, are outstanding on account of gas sale to these companies by SSGCL.
Secretary Petroleum Division Assad Hayaud Din briefing the meeting said that Power Division has sent a summary to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet to protect gas utilities Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited and SSGCL from default as outstanding dues on account of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are mounting.
The managing director (MD) SNGPL briefing the panel said that the government has taken the gas utilities into confidence before floating a summary to ECC. He said that as per plan SNGPL will collect 500 million cubic feet per day LNG on take-or-pay basis and will arrange Rs15 billion for Pakistan State Oil. He maintained that approval for this purchase will be got from SNGPL board of directors as well as Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA).
The secretary Petroleum Division said that another LNG-based power plant will start functioning from next month which will enhance LNG consumption. He said that Petroleum Division has serious reservations on the privatization of Havili Buhadar Shah and Baloki power plants. He said that his ministry is making all-out efforts to avert default of SNGPL and Pakistan State Oil.
The PSO's receivables have gone beyond Rs330 billion while the receivables of two gas utilities are more than Rs100 billion as of now. Producers like Oil and Gas Development Company Ltd and Pakistan Petroleum Ltd have more than Rs300 billion in outstanding dues and most of these funds remain stuck up with the power sector.
Audit officials said that Habibullah Costal Power Plant has not paid Rs4.2 billion to SSGC since long. Officials informed the panel that Rs2 billion insurance disputes with National Insurance Company Limited will be resolved within next two weeks and the details will also be shared with the PAC.
The secretary Petroleum Division said that his ministry is talking to the Power Division to resolve Rs18 billion outstanding dues of SSGCL against Jamshoro Power Plant.
The convener committee directed the secretary Petroleum Division either to resolve the matter with secretary Power Division or secretary Power Division must come to the next meeting of the panel to explain all about the outstanding dues.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019