IPPs’ warning that they will shut down the remaining power plants if their dues were not paid should be taken seriously by the government. The IPPs lawyers made the statement during proceedings in the Supreme Court which exhorted the government to take remedial steps. The lawyer told the court that though the government itself has confessed that there was a circular debt of Rupees 400 billion, it still was not making the payment. The pity is that despite frequent claims of reduction in loadshedding there has been no improvement. The ongoing strikes are a stark proof of this failing.
Prime Minister Ashraf has handled the power ministry’s portfolio before and as such one had expected him to do better except for making more promises. He could have at least ordered a reduction in electricity charges, which given the claim by Ministry of Water and Power the other day are inflated in order to cover up for the losses in Sindh and Fata. The long and short of the story is that the crisis has deteriorated because of the federal government’s utter indifference and failure to spare cash for payment of circular debt. It is good that the IPPs’ cry has been heard by the Supreme Court that they are being driven against the wall, on the one hand by not being paid, and on the other by reduction in the capacity of electricity production. If they stop production, the fallout would be horrific.