Panic! at the Disco


After wasting more than six crucial months, the cabinet committee on restructuring (CCOR) managed to approve names of CEO for four power distribution companies (DISCOs) to the Prime Minister for consideration and appointment.
CCOR was chaired by Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh to discuss appointment of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of DISCOs. The committee discussed the recommendations given by Board of Directors of DISCO. Minister for Water and Power, Secretary Finance Secretary, Secretary Water and Power, and other concerned officials were also present in the meeting. The committee decided to expand the HESCO board members for further strengthening of this company.
An official source said the CCOR decided on recommending names of CEO for 4 DISCOs, including IESCO, PESCO, HESCO and SEPCO while it was unable to agree on the names for other DISCOs. He said the helplessness of the government is obvious due to the slow progress by the technocratic CCOR and non professional boards of DISCOs. He said that the process was likely to take more than a month to appoint new CEOs which was initially planned to be completed in October last year.
The source said that the major reason in failure of appointing new CEOs and implementing power sector reforms was the CCOR, was included co-equal ministers who never agree on any issue and no minister has the final decision making power. Time gets wasted in developing consensus through give and take even though all energy related ministers belong to the same party.
Secondly, he said, non professionalism of DISCOs boards was further adding to the woes as many board members wanted their own handpicked man as CEO to get lucrative contacts in future. The boards were infested with non professionals by the Planning Commission which has no role in power sector reforms. The Ministry of Water and Power was opposed to the intervention of Finance Ministry and Planning Commission in power sector. Even though afflicted with same kind of mismanagement, the Petroleum Ministry has cunningly kept its subsidiaries out of the reform process.
It has been already reported that international financial institutions (IFIs) have already advised the government for appointing a focal person for energy sector with decision making authority. IFIs have demanded handing over the company operations to professionals to improve the supply demand balance and financial health of the sector. They stress improving corporate governance in DISCOs by making their boards responsible for all decisions and allowing managers to make decisions and shifting the administrative control over DISCOs to provincial governments.
The international community has been advising the government to stop tampering with the tariff to improve the financial health of the sector as well as for attracting further investment in the sector. Timely determination of tariff and its notification will help resolve the liquidity issues.