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IMF team snubs Water, Power Development Authority for changing targets

ISLAMABAD (November 14 2002) : The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has snubbed the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) for revising its financial targets set for the current fiscal year, sources told Business Recorder here on Wednesday.

They said that the Fund's visiting team, which held meeting with government officials a day earlier in the Finance Ministry, raised several queries on Wapda's performance and expressed annoyance on changing targets without prior consent of the donors.

“IMF team was of the view that if Wapda has to revise targets itself, why the government should sign agreement with the donors?” sources added.

Sources said that Wapda's team, headed by the General Manager Finance (Wapda), Muhammad Amjad, argued that the utility had not been allowed the agreed 58 paisa per unit raise in tariff.

The other point he raised, sources said, was government departments' alarming non-payment trends as their pending dues had risen to Rs 29 billion up to September as compared to Rs 24 billion on June 30.

Sources quoted Wapda's representative as assuring the visiting IMF team that if the government takes steps to ensure implementation on the Automatic Fuel Adjustment Formula and payment from the public sector, the utility would be in a position to achieve financial targets.

Wapda's representative also complained to the mission that the government had promised to settle the arrears issue of Azad Kashmir and the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata) but nothing had been done so far , sources said.

The issue of unprecedented high electricity prices in Pakistan as compared to the region was the main focus of the meeting and, interestingly, IMF team agreed that electricity prices in Pakistan “are too high”. Wapda's representative also expressed the same view on the issue, but said that the utility could avoid increase in tariff provided public sector paid its bills in time and fully and the Automatic Fuel Adjustment Formula be implemented.

Asked when the government was going to implement Nepra's decision allowing Wapda 7 paisa per unit increase in tariff, sources replied that the Finance Ministry has dispatched a summary to the President to seek approval in this regard.

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