LAHORE: In a surprising development, the government on Wednesday removed the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) officiating managing director, appointing another one on temporary basis after a brief period of two months or so.
Official sources, terming it an immature decision, said it was unprecedented in the history of the state-owned organisation incorporated as a private limited company in 1963 and later turned into a public limited entity in January 1964 under the Companies Act 1913.
“I neither witnessed nor heard such a decision since my appointment in the SNGPL over 20 years ago. It is fun to learn that the government replaced an officiating MD with an another (officiating) one only after two months instead of appointing a permanent office-holder,” an official source in the SNGPL told Dawn.
The government, following recommendations of the Board of Directors, had, on January 10 removed the SNGPL MD Amjad Latif, entrusting Amir Tufail, the senior most official (deputy managing director, services) with the charge, in addition to his actual one. However, after passage of two months, the government replaced him with Mr Mahmood Zia Ahmad, a junior to Mr Tufail.
“Mr Latif, who was appointed as SNGPL chief during the PML-N’s tenure, was also junior to Mr Amir Tufail. However, there was a general perception that he (Mr Tufail) would surely be given a chance to serve as MD in case the PTI government came into power. So it happened when the government, following the BoD recommendations, entrusted him with the additional charge of MD on January 10, this year. But it came as a shock when we heard that the PTI government replaced him with Mr Zia, who has also been asked to take over the office of the MD on officiating basis,” the official, who requested anonymity explained. “It is really a unique decision of its kind.”
According to an SNGPL spokesman, “He (Mr Zia) has an illustrious carrier spanning of over 31 years in distribution, construction, operations and maintenance wings of company.” Mr Zia has served on numerous key positions at the SNGPL, including senior general manager (distribution-North), GM (Gujranwala, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and other regions). Apart from immensely contributing towards efficient operations of the company, he has been a strong advocate of reducing the line losses. He has distinction in MSc (chemical engineering),” reads a press release issued by the spokesman.
Another official source attributed Mr Zia’s appointment to his engineering degree. “I think he has been appointed due to his engineering background. And it happened since Mr Tufail was a charted accountant and most senior individual among the top officials. But if we analyse the situation, we can say that the sitting government has taken the decision as its predecessors had been doing the same,” he explained, expressing his ignorance about the time frame for appointment of a regular MD.
“I think the government, seems to be in no mood for appointing a regular MD. And had it any such plan, it would have continued with Mr Amir Tufail till appointment of a permanent SNGPL chief,” he claimed.
Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2019