ISLAMABAD - The Public Accounts Committee yesterday asked the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) to present before it the initial report of Rs480 billion released by the PML-N government to the Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

The committee chaired by Syed Khursheed Shah demanded initial report on circular debt of worth Rs480 billion released by incumbent government to the committee. “The initial report should be submitted to the committee,” said Chairman PAC, after sensing the interest shown by committee members to review the report. Auditor General Asad Amin told the committee that the final report on this colossal amount would be compiled in 15 days.

“We have been working on this report only for the last four months, as earlier it was with the former AGP,” said Amin. He expressed concerns over the report published in media regarding the removal of former AGP only on the reason for not approving the audit report.

A couple of days before a PAC member from PTI Shafqat Mehmood had written a letter to the committee demanding the report prepared by former AGP be brought before the body.

He also mentioned in his letter that Buland Akhtar Rana had ordered an audit of the State Bank of Pakistan to ascertain how such a huge amount was released to the IPPs without following all the financial formalities.

Shafqat Mehmood, taking part in discussion, clarified that he wrote this letter quoting media reports. “I have quoted media and it was my request to probe the matter,” he maintained. A PTI lawmaker Arif Alvi said that if the report was leaked to media than it should also be brought before the committee. “We have to face public, as this is an issue of public ...It should also be shared with the committee,” he added. The PML-N government after coming into power in June 2013 had released Rs480 billion to IPPs.

The chairman committee at the fag end of proceeding asked the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to bring a brief report on gas exploration tomorrow (Wednesday). Khursheed Shah also expressed concerns over legal advisors hired by ministries to tackle the important cases. “There should be some qualification, as experience should be above 10 years,” he said. Reviewing the audit objections related to loss of GDC allowance at seven per cent resulting into loss of Rs2,886 million, chairman also asked to compile report on it in four months. “Consumer should be given benefit not the government,” said chairman.

Naveed Qamar, a senior PAC member, asked the ministry to come up with some out of box solution to resolve the matter. “You have to have some out of box solution to deal this issue,” he added.

Audit official informed the committee DG (Gas) could not present fair position before OGRA in respect of seven per cent UFG as allowed by OGRA. The allowance was not in line with the bench mark prescribed in UFG manual published by SNGPL. “The excess allowance of UFG at seven per cent instead of five per cent resulted in loss of Rs2866 million,” said audit official.

To another objection regarding non-realisation of gas development surcharge Rs27,868 million, the chairman PAC asked to present a report within 30 days.

The committee also settled objections regarding short determination of GDC due to wrong treatment of ‘Workers profit participation fund’ worth Rs300 million. The PAC also settled the audit objection non-realisation of lease rent from E&P companies worth Rs186.4 million.