ISLAMABAD-Launching short-term crash programme to resolve circular debt issue, the government on Saturday has decided to take help of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to recover power dues worth of over Rs 100 billion from private sector defaulters.

The decision was taken in a meeting on circular debt issue that was chaired by Federal Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Saleem H Mandviwalla. The government has approved short-term crash programme to resolve the circular debt issue, which is the main cause of the power crisis in the country. The meeting was informed that private sector is power dues defaulter worth of Rs 200 billion and it has decided to recover power dues over Rs 100 billion from private sector defaulters with the help NAB in next two weeks.

The meeting was informed that circular debt has reached to Rs 480 billion in which Rs 410 billion is recoverable. Sources said that meeting was informed that provincial government are facing power dues worth of Rs 200 billion and important meeting to recover dues from provinces has been summoned in next week. The government would also take help from other investigating agencies like Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and police to recover power dues.

Sources said that the meeting has decided to change its legal team, as several cases related to fuel adjustment are in the court and Government’s Rs 80 billion has been stuck due to litigation in different courts.

The meeting was informed that the government has released Rs 225 billion power subsidy during July-February period of the ongoing financial year against the allocated subsidy of Rs 185 billion for the entire financial year 2012-13. Economic experts believe that more subsidies would be required to finance the tariff differential in the remaining four months (March to June) of the ongoing fiscal year. They said that further release of cash to the power sector would lead to a considerable increase in the budget deficit for the current fiscal.

 The government provided an average monthly subsidy of Rs 28 billion to the power sector, which was unsustainable. Power subsidies would go to Rs 350 billion if the government continued to release funds at the current pace.