ICST demands probe in cancellation, suspension of critical loans


Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST)  said on Sunday that the cancellation and suspension of critical loans by international lenders should be probed.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has delayed the approval of a third loan tranche worth $300 million after the government has put energy sector reforms on the backburner which is frustrating, it said.

The loan was critical for the country as official foreign currency reserves have started to deplete and reached a level of $18.36 billion, said ICST’s Patron, Shahid Rasheed Butt.

In a statement issued on Sunday, he said that the third tranche was part of a five-year $1.6-billion package to make energy sector self-reliant. He said that the bureaucracy of ministry of finance, ministry of water and power, ministry of petroleum and natural resources, private power infrastructure board and NEPRA should be taken to the task as delayed reforms had pushed circular debt to Rs 662 billion by June 2016.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that two days earlier the World Bank has also cancelled loan of $100 million which was supposed to improve gas infrastructure. The loan was cancelled due to lack of interest of the officials of SSGC which must be probed.

The project was to be carried in Karachi, interior Sindh and Balochistan to improve supply of natural gas by reducing physical and commercial losses. The failure of the project led to its closure which will increase the level of unaccounted-for gas (UFG) continuing to drain the precious natural resource.

Cancellation and suspension of loans shows lack of interest on the part of officials concerned which is against the national interests, said Butt.