PAC summons secretaries to resolve circular debt issue
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PAC summons secretaries to resolve circular debt issue

Islamabad : Pakistan | Aug 28, 2012 at 12:02 PM PDT
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The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Tuesday, summoned Secretaries meeting on Wednesday to resolve issue of mounting circular debt of energy sector. Secretaries including Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Finance and Water and Power along with their Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) will attend the meeting and no other staff will be required. “Rs 377 billions is current circular debt receivable from Ministry of Water and Power and it is increasing by Rs 20 billions per month as oil worth of Rs 95 billions is provided to Ministry of Water and Power monthly on credit while payments are made only Rs 60 to 70 billions” Secretary Petroleum told PAC adding that situation of circular debt was getting worsened day by day.PAC met here with Chairman Nadeem Afzal Gondal in the chair to discuss audit observations about financial management of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources for the fiscal years 1996-97, 1999-2000, 2005-06 and others.Committee members came hard on Secretary Petroleum Waqar Masood over lapsing of development funds in their constituencies despite approved development schemes and projects especially related on Sui Northern Gas Pipelines.Moreover, PAC showed utmost displeasure over non preparedness of Secretary and his team to the audit observations and replies to the audit objections which the members called it a non serious attitude towards proceedings of the committee.PAC directed Ministry to fix responsibility for not preparing compliance report of directives of committee in one month. However, committee applauded preparedness of Sohail Ahmad legal advisor to PSO for being well informed about different cases pending in the courts.During discussion on mounting amount of circular debt, Secretary told that WAPDA had paid no interest on gas provided to it for electricity generation since 2000. He further said that petroleum sector bore 70% of circular debt. However, PAC members showed dissatisfaction over hue and cry made by Secretary Petroleum on circular debt saying that Ministry of Petroleum was linking its failures to circular debt, whereas the actual situation was that ministry could not have received Gas Development Surcharge.PAC was further told that there were 7480 and 316 cases were sub judice of Sui Northern Gas Pipe Lines (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Pipelines (SSGPL) and Pakistan State Oil (PSO) had won 120 cases in the recent past. Committee gave one month deadline to Ministry for out of court settlement of cases pending with courts.To an audit para about loss of Rs 3.120 millions due to short delivery of POL product, PAC directed Abid Saeed Additional Secretary to look into the matter and report back to committee in one month. Similarly, Committee directed Ministry to fix responsibility of non-recovery of Rs 158 millions cost of supplied HSD by PSO in 15 days. PAC also directed MD PSO to resolve three audit paras involving more than 70 millions.While responding to queries of members, Secretary Petroleum said that negotiation with Qatar for import of LNG were on initial stage while ECC had principally decided to allow move ahead in talks with Qatar as well as provision of government guarantee in this regards.At the end of members complained against government policy for the inauguration of public development schemes in their constituencies by their rival candidates who had lost elections against them. They also lamented against violation of merit in the provision of gas connections to consumers in their respective constituencies. While responding to these observations, Secretary Petroleum said that government had no such policy as well as assured the House to look into the matter minutely saying that no discrimination would be made in the provision of gas supply connections to people.

Saad Ahmed is based in Islamabad, Federal Capital Area, Pakistan, and is a Reporter for Allvoices.
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