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LAHORE: National Transmission and Despatch Company Ltd (NTDCL) is passing through a severe financial crisis and it has stopped payments to all of its vendors, contractors, consultants and other people.

The company has even stopped routine payments to its employees and pensioners, a senior company official, requesting anonymity, told Dawn on Wednesday.

It seems the company may default shortly since it is unable to pay monthly instalments and markup against the loans it had obtained from the financial institutions, according to the official.

The financial situation has worsened after the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on March 7 attached all bank accounts of the company for its alleged failure to deposit withholding tax of over Rs1.26 billion, pending since 2009-10.

“We cannot make the smallest transaction as the FBR has frozen all bank accounts of the company. And it is worsening, since the entire petty cash available (before attachment of our accounts) with us has been spent on various routine office works. At present, we are completely broke,” the company official confirmed to Dawn.

He said that the company, since its inception in 1998, never faced such a financial crisis as it is passing through these days. It is now on the verge of collapse.

“We are now stuck in a dead-end. Pensioners are calling officials concerned on a daily basis, asking us to release pensions.

But how can we? Similarly, there is mounting pressure on us from vendors, contractors, etc to release payments,” he explained.

The official said the NTDCL — the power division’s public sector entity having an employee-base of 10,000 posted in head office and several field formations across the country — had also taken up the issue with the Power Division that contacted the FBR in this regard. But FBR does not seem willing to roll back on its decision of accounts attachment.

Work on major NTDCL projects, including those being executed under the China-Pakistna Economic Corridor, has also discontinued since March 7.

“All our offices are open, but there is no work for the last one week,” the official added, requesting the FBR to review its decision considering at least certain key projects.

NTDCL has cited that it has already paid tax (app. Rs50 million) for the year 2009-10 manually. But FBR has rejected this manual method of paying tax.

The company has cited that it is not possible to show this transaction in its tax returns due to the non-availability of electronic payment facility back in 2010.

Power Division Secretary Yusuf Nasim Khokhar speaking to Dawn said, “It is totally unfair and not a decent way to meet revenue targets by FBR.

The company has already taken up this issue with the PM’s office. FBR is just trying to achieve its targets at the cost of public sector entities which is unfair.”

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2018