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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

SC inquires about excessive payments to IPPs

News Desk |

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, the 9thof January, summoned Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan to explain his position over excessive payments made to independent power producers (IPPs).

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing a suo motu case pertaining to the excessive amount paid to IPPs by the government, local press reported.

At the outset of the hearing, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, a member of the bench, quoted a report as saying that IPPs were paid Rs. 159 million each and questioned if the power producers were paid as per their power generation capacity.

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The secretary of the power Division briefed the bench on the structure of the payments, saying that the IPPs were paid as per their capacity and fuel consumption.

“They are paid as per their capacity regardless of whether they generate electricity or not.”

“Millions of rupees were paid to IPPs even if they produced electricity or not,” Justice Nisar remarked.

“Such agreements are being revoked the world over,” he added.

“People didn’t get electricity but private companies were made full payments. Nothing was obtained by paying billions of rupees to private companies,” he continued.

“We are sending this matter to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB),” the top judge added.

In a bid to manage prevailing gas shortage, the government on Tuesday, 8th January had come to the decision to announce a new power policy along with a 25-year composite energy strategy in the running month.

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Prime Minister Imran Khan presided over the cabinet meeting. The assemblage analyzed the increasing number of complaints regarding gas and electricity shortage in the country and the remedial measures being taken by the authorities concerned. Currently, electricity load shedding of 6-8 hours in urban areas and 12-16 hours in rural areas has been observed. A similar pattern has been observed for gas outages.

The prime minister was briefed that the prevailing gas shortage was mainly due to two new factors — closure of the LNG re-gasification terminal of Pakistan Gasport (PGP) for maintenance for almost two weeks and additional gas supply to fertilizer and export-oriented industries on the instructions of the government.

Prime Minister Khan, while expressing anger on his ministers said that they were inflicting loss to already suffering national exchequer.

Sources said that while directing to take emergency measures to end the load shedding, the premier ordered to devise a comprehensive plan to end gas and power load-shedding across the county.

He said that they will utilize all the resources to provide uninterrupted power supply to consumers.

Officials from the ministries of petroleum and energy were also present in the meeting who apprised the Imran Khan about the reasons behind the power outages.