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Call to probe release of Rs480bn for clearing circular debt in 2013

Call to probe release of Rs480bn for clearing circular debt in 2013

ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Monday adopted a special report by a house committee recommending a probe by the National Acc­ountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal In­vesti­gation Agency (FIA) into the dubious release of Rs480 billion to independent power producers (IPPs) to clear the circular debt in 2013.

The government had opposed the motion to adopt the report, but was defeated by the opposition.

The report by the senate’s standing committee on finance, headed by Saleem Manviwalla, observes that there was serious negligence in the matter, and that inadmissible payments were made without validations. It also proposes recovery from the IPPs that had received these unjustified payments.

The report notes that maintenance of inventory and cost of backup fuel was the responsibility of the IPPs, and the payment of Rs2.711 billion to IPPs on account of capacity payment was illegal. It recommends a full-fledged probe so that the responsible people could be held accountable.

Senate adopts a report by a house committee recommending an inquiry by NAB and FIA

It says that the reimbursement of withholding tax, amounting to Rs264.665 million, to IPPs, including Attock Gen Ltd, Atlas Power Ltd, Nishat Power Ltd and Nishat Chunnian Power Ltd, by the central power purchase agency was irregular. It also directs the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to recover the said amount from the IPPs.

PSDP allocations

Separately, the province-wise public sector development programme (PSDP) allocations were shared with the House for the first time, revealing that lowest allocation had been made for Sindh.

Sharing the details of the provincial allocations, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal disclosed that the allocation for Punjab was Rs97 billion, the allocation for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rs93 billion, for Balochistan Rs80 billion, and Rs70 billion had been allocated for Sindh. An allocation of Rs42 billion had been made for the federal capital and Rs32 billion had been allocated for Azad Jammu and Kashmir, while Rs29 billion each had been set aside for federally administered tribal areas (Fata) and Gilgit-Baltistan.

He said Rs384 billion had been allocated for national development projects. He said the allocation for the Higher Education Commission had been enhanced from Rs21 billion to Rs35 billion. He said that all district headquarters would have either a university or a campus in the next two years.

Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani rejected the other three adjournment motions on the agenda, including one seeking a discussion on an unofficial meeting of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with Indian steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2017

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