NTDC issues apology and withdraws controversial letter

Senate's Standing Committee on Power calls for transparency in project awards.

ISLAMABAD: The National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) has apologised for its ‘controversial’ letter regarding the powers and authority of the Senate Standing Committee on Power to discuss the contracts and officially announced the withdrawal of this letter.

A meeting of the senate’s standing committee on power was held on Monday under the chairmanship of Senator Saifullah Abro and the meeting was attended by Senators’ Fida Muhammad, Dilawar Khan, Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Sana Jamali, Haji Hidayatullah Khan, Bahramand Khan Tangi, Azam Nazeer Tarar along with officials from related attached departments.

Perturbed over the absence of both the energy minister and the energy secretary from the meeting, the members expressed indignation. Officials from the energy ministry informed that the energy minister is out of the country, while the secretary is in an online meeting.

Upon which, the chairman of the standing committee, senator Saifullah Abru remarked that two and a half years have passed since the formation of the committee, yet no problem is going towards resolution.

On the subject of the earlier letter, officials of NTDC said that they respected the upper house wholeheartedly. They said that the letter was written by the chairman, on whose behalf, they apologised and officially withdrew this letter. 

In its letter the NTDC had said that it was not the authority of the standing committee to discuss the contracts.  

Addressing the Board of Directors (BoD) of NTDC, the committee discussed non-implementation and a non-serious attitude toward the committee’s recommendations. Power Division Officers apologised for the inappropriate letter to the Senate Standing Committee on Power, clarifying that the board did not approve the draft letter, and the chairman resigned. The committee deferred the matter and instructed NESPAK and NTDC to share a note within three days.

The committee, in its deliberations, took up the matter of NESPAK’s non-implementation regarding the submission of a re-evaluation report and the status of an ADB project. NESPAK informed the committee that the domestic preference granted in the financial evaluation was based on an EDB (Engineering Development Board) letter from February 2015. The committee raised concerns about the validity of the letter, its usage, and the impact on the procurement process.

After extensive deliberation, the committee unanimously resolved to recommend the matter to the Lender (The Asian Development Bank). The committee instructed NESPAK after consultation with the NTDC, to share a note within three days, highlighting the technical qualification based on a 2015 letter, now deemed infructuous due to a lapse of five years.

It was also apprised that though the ADB had issued an NOC to the Newage company, the committee recommended that agreement should not be signed until the revaluation process is completed in the light of the committee recommendations.

The agenda item pertaining to the Daso Hydro Power Station to Islamabad transmission line contract was also discussed. The Turkish company SA-RA Energy, the second lowest bidder, contested the contract’s award to Sino-Hydro, citing lack of relevant experience and document irregularities. 

Senator Saifullah Abro expressed displeasure over the lack of performance of the concerned department in resolving the matter. He said that the committee wanted to ensure transparency in the matter of awarding of projects and prudent utilisation of the funds was in the best interest of the state and the people of Pakistan. 

It was further informed by the officials of the Power ministry that they had communicated the concerns raised by the committee along with the relevant documents but the World Bank country office has expressed full confidence in the process therefore they awarded the contract. The chairman proposed an in-camera briefing within 10 days to expedite resolution.

During the meeting, irregularities in the transmission line contract of the Dasu Hydro project sparked a clash between Senator Bahramand Tangi and Chairman Senator Saifullah Abro, leading to Tangi’s protest walkout. The remaining agenda items were deferred.

 

Ahmad Ahmadani
Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is a an investigative journalist at Profit. He can be reached at [email protected].

1 COMMENT

  1. Interesting read! It seems like the NTDC’s apology and withdrawal of the controversial letter brought some heated discussions in the Senate’s Standing Committee on Power. The call for transparency in project awards and concerns over contracts add an extra layer of complexity. It’s a reminder of the challenges in ensuring accountability and efficient utilization of funds in such projects. Looking forward to seeing how this unfolds and if the proposed in-camera briefing leads to a resolution. Stay tuned for more twists in the power play!

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