ISLAMABAD: After months of speculation, the government dismissed Power Secretary Irfan Ali on Tuesday following disagreements with key authorities on a number of contentious issues, including the net profit of hydel (PSN) to the provinces, the endless circular debt, procedure for induction of future electricity projects and ongoing problems with K-Electric.
A grade 22 Pakistani administrative service officer, Mr. Ali has been appointed Special Service Officer (OSD) and responsible for reporting to the Settlement Division. He was immediately replaced by another PAS officer of the same rank, Omar Rasool, who was currently the secretary of the Board of Investment.
Mr. Rasool had a debriefing session with Mr. Ali on Tuesday before the issuance of official notifications.
Likewise, trade secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar was also transferred as interior secretary and replaced by Muhammad Sualeh Ahmed Farooqi, who was currently working as special trade secretary. The post of interior secretary became vacant on Tuesday following the premature retirement of outgoing president Azam Suleman Khan.
Trade Secretary also replaced
Informed sources said that Ali won the wrath of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s secretary Azam Khan last December during the Council of Common Interests (CCI) minutes.
The sources indicated that the Energy Division submitted a report to the CCI on the question of the calculation of NHPs according to the AGN Kazi methodology with the conclusion that the existing methodology was no longer applicable given the changing dynamics of the energy sector. energy.
The report argued that Article 161 of the Constitution promised NHPs to the provinces based on hydroelectricity produced in a province and delivered to the national grid, which, at the time of the Kazi Committee commission, was mainly reserved for Tarbela and some other stations.
With a changed dynamic and tens of thousands of megawatts from other sources, a fee of 1.15 rupees was imposed on each unit of electricity produced and consumed anywhere in Pakistan to cover NHP payments to the provinces. .
The practice envisaged for nearly 170 billion rupees per year in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and its similar application in other provinces resulted in an annual payment of 125 billion rupees in Punjab. As if that were not enough, similar payments would have to be made to AJK, where thousands of additional megawatts are to come. As such, it has been argued that NHPs were emerging as the greatest challenge to the affordability of electricity as the National Finance Commission was a challenge to the federal government’s fiscal balance.
The report argued that the share of NHPs in the provinces should only be determined on the basis of specific units produced in this area as well as the share in Wapda. The sources said that the ICC generally accepted the findings as far as the financial implications and decided to set up a committee to develop a new methodology for the future without affecting the existing finances of the provinces. This was also confirmed by the publication of ICC meeting minutes.
However, within a few days, the energy division was summoned to have Khyber Pakhtunkhwa contest the minutes and, therefore, a revised minutes was issued asking the proposed committee to work out the method of payment for PSN instead of methodology. Mr. Ali allegedly protested the unilateral change, but was informed that the President of the ICC had the power to modify the minutes and that, therefore, the methodology had been replaced by the method of payment.
Mr. Ali insisted that his dissent be recorded and recommended that it be reconsidered by the ICC.
Sources said it did not go well with Azam Khan, who reportedly responded by hosting an independent briefing with the Prime Minister on alleged power divisions regarding President Nepra’s circular debt reduction Touseef H. Farooqi. Mr. Farooqi contested the position of Power Divisions and said that the monthly circular debt was actually increasing rather than decreasing.
These sources said the energy division had also been criticized by the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority for creating obstacles in the treatment of new energy projects, including those in small and renewable hydroelectric power stations, while the energy division insisted that future inductions should be on the basis of tenders in accordance with the integrated production capacity expansion plan (IGCEP).
There were also some differences regarding the appointments of CEOs in the electricity companies, the hiring of workers in the distribution companies and the facilities granted to K-Electric in the fuel sector.
Posted in Dawn, July 1st, 2020
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