Pakistan’s circular debt stands at Rs795bn, PAC told

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Pakistan’s circular debt in the power sector has risen to Rs795 billion, Ministry of Energy & Power Division Secretary Irfan Ali told Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Monday in the Parliament House.

The subcommittee chaired by Naveed Qamar was reviewing audit paras from 2016-17 against the Ministry of Energy & Power Division.

The secretary said his ministry was striving hard to control power theft and make recoveries and it was “providing good results.

He informed the committee that Sukkur Electric Power Company (SEPCO) suffered the minimum loss (13pc) due to power theft, adding the present government was determined to control electricity theft.

Giving details of the incentive package, the audit officials revealed that there was embezzlement of Rs38 million in the package given to flood victims in 2010, adding that some government officials were also involved in the said embezzlement. “However, some of those involved in corruption are still in service while many had retired honourably.”

The PAC members asked the officials to appear before the committee who conducted the inquiry.

Audit officials further informed the committee that PESCO, merely to conceal their line losses, did unjustified overbilling of Rs708 million on the connections which were permanently disconnected.

PESCO chief told the committee that Charsadda and Mardan were the most troubled areas where people were using hooks while abandoning the electricity meters.

However, FIRs were registered against all those involved in power theft and in the light of those FIRs, many arrests were made, the PESCO chief added.

He stressed the need to launch a campaign to educate the people with regard to power pilferage being a crime.

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