ISLAMABAD: Caretaker minister for water and power Dr Musadik Malik on his first day in office on Thursday barred the board of directors of all the 14 corporate companies — 10 distribution, three generation and a transmission and dispatch company — from holding their board meetings until further orders.
In case of any pressing requirement, the boards would have to seek prior approval of the meeting, along with agenda from the water and power ministry.
The decision, said an official, was taken following reports that some boards were planning to take decisions to grant personal benefits to their members and promote selective officers.
“This meant that the independence of corporate companies and their board of directors had been withdrawn,” said a senior power ministry official and wondered if this was permissible in companies ordinance under which these companies had been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
He was informed that electricity shortfall had increased from about 3000MW early this week to more than 4000MW on Thursday and was still going up owing to shortage of gas and fuel while hydropower generation had plummeted to 1600MW due to low irrigation requirements.
Mr Malik took charge of his ministerial assignment on a day, additional secretary in charge of the ministry Sikandar Ahmad Rai was posted out to Establishment Division as Officer on Special Duty.
Last month, the prime minister had designated Wapda chairman Raghib Shah as central coordinator for 14 corporate companies in the power sector and authorised him to nominate a member of his choice in the board of directors of all these companies.
The decision had not gone well with the international lenders, particularly the World Bank that threatened to stop funding for the power sector unless the centralisation process was not reversed and the reform process was carried forward.
The minister said reduction in generation, distribution and transmission losses would be taken up as priority and short term strategy would be formulated to resolve energy crisis so that the house is put in order before a new government takes charge after elections.
He was given detailed briefing on the power demand and supply situation, terrorists attack on Sheikh Mohammadi Grid station and other matters relating to water and power sector.
He also talked to the CEOs of the Discos through video conferencing.
He asked the heads of corporate companies to improve their performance and achieve the targets to be given to them early next week for providing relief to the people in load-shedding.
He asked the chief executives to improve recovery, reduce line losses and submit a short plan to improve the performance and facilitate consumers.
Meanwhile, Sohail Wajahat H. Siddiqui also took charge of the petroleum ministry on Thursday and was given briefing by Secretary Abid Saeed and attached directorates of oil, gas, petroleum concessions and special projects.
He told the officials that ensuring transparency, merit-based decision making and team work would be the hallmark of the ministry during his tenure as minister.
Sohail Wajahat further said that his vision would be to enhance efficiency of the human resources, increase productivity of organisations, reduction of costs and profitable growth in all the upstream and downstream oil and gas sector.
He said that it would be his personal mission to incorporate the core values of responsibility, innovation and excellence in the ministry and its organisations.
The minister directed various divisions, wings and companies working under the petroleum ministry to give detailed presentations to him over the next few days so that a future course of action could be put in place immediately.