Formation of panel ordered to address IPPs’ issues

ISLAMABAD: A few hours after Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s announcement that the federal cabinet has decided to pay 40 per cent dues of Independent Power Projects (IPPs), the Prime Minister Office clarified on Tuesday evening that the cabinet only approved the formation of a committee to address the long-standing issue.

Addressing a press conference after the cabinet meeting, Mr Chaudhry said the cabinet had decided to pay 40pc dues of IPPs. However, a press release issued by the PMO later said the cabinet had approved decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), including formation of a committee to settle IPPs’ issues and outstanding dues. The committee will take a decision regarding payments against dues.

Media reports said the IPPs had long-term contracts and receivables against government companies in excess of Rs1 trillion. Mr Chaudhry said the IPPs had been demanding money for the electricity they had produced and consumed by the consumers.

Decision comes hours after minister announces in press conference that 40pc dues of independent power producers will be paid

Policy okayed

The cabinet also approved a national policy called “Follow the Money” to detect ill-gotten money.

“The policy will help detect ill-gotten money so that cases like those of Shehbaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari cannot occur,” the minister said, adding that a few years ago Mr Sharif was paying Rs1,000 tax, but suddenly people came to know they had built palaces in the United Kingdom.

When contacted, Mr Chaudhry said under the policy the government would trace money through bank transactions.

The cabinet also exempted all bids, to be submitted to Pakistan Railways, from 10 per cent withholding tax. “The decision was taken to encourage participation of the private sector in railways’ operations,” the information minister said.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2021

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