ISLAMABAD: Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan has clarified that the only reason to introduce the GIDC (cess of gas infrastructure development) ordinance was to reduce fertilizer prices after conducting a forensic audit of five fertilizer companies.
At a press conference on Monday, the minister said it was a cabinet decision to clarify the problem after the forensic audit of these fertilizer companies and reach an agreement with them. "There was no other reason for the GIDC ordinance and as soon as they pointed us out we decided that the matter be resolved in the Supreme Court because we are clean and we have nothing to hide and operate transparently," he added. .
Responding to a question, the minister said that the amount to be recovered due to GIDC would be used only for the development of gas infrastructure.
He said the government was challenging the decision of an international tribunal against Pakistan in the Reko Diq and Karkay cases. "Pakistan does not want to lose another case in international arbitration and, therefore, an out-of-court settlement is essential to end trade disputes with various entities," he added.
Omar Ayub says that the GIDC ordinance was intended to reduce fertilizer prices.
"But criticism of the recent ECC [Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet] the decision in this regard was unjustified, "he said, adding:" Pakistan has already faced damages of $ 1.2 billion against Karkay and in the Reko Diq case the amount of compensation against Pakistan is around $ 6.2 billion. in international litigation, although we are challenging it. "
The minister said nine other independent energy producers (IPP) had gone to the London International Arbitration Court, earning Rs 14,000 million against Pakistan, adding that if the country failed to comply with these payments, national assets abroad could be confiscated “It has happened with many countries and we don't want to see that situation with us; that's why we are going to file an appeal against the decisions, "he added.
Omar Ayub said the government recently decided to resolve a financial dispute of Rs 1.2 billion with Rousch (Pakistan) Power Limited and that the out-of-court settlement with the company was a sensible decision. He said the last government had imposed damage to Rousch and that legal experts had warned that the decision would be counterproductive.
"If this company had also opted for international litigation against Pakistan, the payment amount would have been higher and considering the realities of the land, it is not difficult to understand the outcome of the litigation in this case as well," he added.
However, the minister said there was confusion among certain segments, including the media, about the decision just because the current government was fair and transparent in announcing the ECC decision.
"The root cause of all these problems is in the parallel decisions taken by the previous government, but the PML-N government also made a similar decision in 2017, which went unnoticed," he added.
Rousch Power, established under the 1994 energy policy, is a 450MW combined cycle power plant located in the Khanewal district.
"We want to untangle the electricity sector and eradicate all the problems so that investors have the confidence to invest in this sector," said the minister, adding that of 8,810 feeders in the country, only 130 faced technical problems and there was no burden or problem Low voltage anywhere in the country.
"This year we are focused on improving and improving the distribution system in the country, including the installation of smart meters to stop energy theft," he said.
The minister said that the circular debt of the electricity sector would be zero in December this year, adding that the circular debt used to be Rs39bn each month in the past, but currently it was less than Rs10bn per month.
He said there was currently no discussion about the official weekly rest on Saturdays, which was presented in 2011 by the PPP-led government as a last resort to address the energy crisis. He added that it would be decided by the federal cabinet, but there were many other factors to make that decision, apart from the situation in the electricity sector.
Posted in Dawn, September 10, 2019