ISLAMABAD - The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday has formed different committees to work upon the reasons and formulate their suggestions to overcome liabilities of the power sector that surged to Rs1188 billion.

The ECC, which met under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Asad Umar, has discussed different summaries. The top economic decisions making body of the country, ECC, has deferred the summary of increasing gas prices.

The two state-owned natural gas companies SNGPL and SSGCL have recently demanded of the government to increase the gas prices to reduce their liabilities. Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) had recommended increasing gas prices to the caretaker government but they refused and are now urging the PTI government to implement its recommendations.

However, the PTI led federal government deferred the anti-people decision till next meeting.

Ministry of Energy, Power Division gave a detailed presentation on the amount of piled up Circular Debt. According to the data compiled up to 31st July 2018 by the Ministry, It was brought to the notice of the ECC, that the amount of circular debt is standing at Rs596 billion with an increase of Rs30 billion in the last month (i.e. July), another Rs582 billion are parked with the Power Holding companies under the STFF arrangements.

The total liability currently stands at Rs1188 billion. The ECC identified the 5-6 key areas that accounted for the pile up of these liabilities and formed different committees to work upon the reasons and formulate their suggestions to be presented in the next ECC meeting that is to be scheduled in the next week. ECC will later present its suggestions to the Cabinet for the approval and decision on the future course of action.

The ECC Chairman stated that all facts will be shared with the public to make decision making a transparent and inclusive exercise.

The ECC has discussed the various measures to eliminate the circular debt. The meeting was informed that electricity of defaulters should be suspended from September this year. The government would give pre-paid electricity meters to those defaulters who would restore their electricity after suspension. The federal government would negotiate with Balochistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir for recovery of electricity dues. 

The ECC Chairman expressed displeasure on the issue of Fertilizer pricing and its export, taken by the previous government which was totally against the interests of the farmer community.

He said that the interest of the poor farmer should be the supreme motivation for taking such decisions. The ECC was informed that the total requirement of fertilizer for the country for this sowing season would be around 600,000 tons.

The ECC directed that a committee will be formed under the chairmanship of Adviser Industry and Production Abdul Razak Dawood to hold discussions with the local fertiliser industry to ascertain the total domestic production. The committee will present its recommendations in next ECC meeting following which the decision will be made regarding import of urea.

The summary for Pakistan State Oil Financial health and Liquidity position was deferred as the issue is closely linked with Circular Debt therefore the matter would be considered subsequently.