Islamabad: Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Power Tabish Gauhar has resigned from his post, it is reported. Rumors of his resignation were ripe in Power Division for some days, since he was allegedly not satisfied with the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the government and Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
According to sources, Tabish Gauhar sent his resignation to Prime Minister Imran Khan via WhatsApp a few days ago, which has now been accepted. Reportedly, Gauhar was unhappy over unnecessary interference in the power ministry. Besides, he had put forward proposals in several meetings, which were not implemented.
Reportedly, Tabish Gauhar was in favor of implementing the findings of the report prepared by Muhammad Ali, head of the government’s committee for power sector audit and circular debt resolution. Tabish Gohar advised the government that it should not pay Rs 53 billion to IPPs, which the committee termed as excessive and overbilling.
“Tabish Gauhar advised the government to assign National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) a task to conduct due diligence to find out whether the receivables of Rs 53 billion by IPPs are justified or not,” a source in the Power Division told.
The source added that Tabish Gauhar also cautioned the government that IPPs want the government to pay Rs 45 to 50 billion as late payment surcharge. However, they did not mention that they also have to pay late payment surcharge to oil marketing companies, refineries, and gas distribution companies from whom they purchased oil and gas on deferred payments, the source informed.
It may be mentioned here that IPPs, the major stakeholders in power generation, wrote a letter to Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan, strongly condemning Muhammad Ali, head of the committee, for his alleged unprecedented bias. The IPPs have also rejected the allegations leveled against them in the report.
The source said that Tabish Gauhar was also not getting along with Energy Minister Omar Ayub and Special Assistant to PM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar. It was reported that in a recent cabinet meeting, he criticized the Petroleum Division for the recent gas crisis, which strained his relations with Nadeem Babar.
However, another source in the Power Division give an opposing perspective. According to this source, Tabish Gauhar lost the confidence of Prime Minister Imran Khan when the report on the petroleum crisis was unveiled. Gauhar, a technocrat, was disturbed after an inquiry into the petrol crisis undertaken by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) cited M/s Byco refinery in the scam of Rs 23 billion. The FIA recommended punitive action against Byco Refinery and a further probe into its suspicious activities.
Gauhar was on the Byco Board and was chairman of the audit committee of the refinery. A committee headed by Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar is investigating the matter and will submit a report to the Federal Cabinet soon.
However, Tabish Gauhar on this issue already clarified that he resigned from Byco’s Board before joining the government. In the past Tabish Gauhar also served as as director, chief executive officer and chairman of K-Electric’s board from 2008 to 2015.
Gauhar is the second SAPM on Power during the two-and-a-half years tenure of the Khan administration to have unceremoniously left the office.