Govt to release Rs30b to avoid power shortages


Faced with the onslaught of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) against the power outages, the government has decided to release Rs30 billion within the next few days to avoid recurrence of power shortages during the protest campaign of the ruling party in Punjab. An official source said that the government released an amount of Rs5 billion on Wednesday to the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) for payment to the fuel oil supplier, Pakistan State Oil (PSO). He said another amount of Rs6 billion will be released within the next two days while the remaining amount will be released within the current month.
He said that the power sector is the top priority of the government and the Finance Ministry has been directed to take all measures to make timely measures for the release of the desired amount. The government does not want to provide any chance to PML-N to intensify its recently launched campaign to dislodge the government. After complete mayhem in Punjab against the power shortages, the Prime Minister had to intervene to make payment of Rs11 billion to PEPCO to generate enough electricity to meet the requirements of the country. The generation had declined by a massive 7000 MW due to failure to make timely payment to the fuel oil supplier, PSO. Out of the total PEPCO receivables of Rs300 billion, nearly Rs170 billion were outstanding against the federal and provincial governments. Sindh government was withholding Rs42 billion, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rs22 billion and Balochistan Rs10 billion. PEPCO has to make recovery of Rs130 billion from private sector consumers.
The source said the recovery process by PEPCO was still in limbo as the entity was to be dissolved on October 30th. The task of PEPCO is to be taken over by the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) from the next month. The government plans to appoint a new board for running of the affairs of the entity by assigning performance tasks to overcome the power crisis.