On footsteps of Lanka? Chinese firms threaten to close power plants unless Pak pays US $1.59 billion dues

Edited By: Gandharv Walia
Islamabad   Updated: May 10, 2022, 08:56 PM(IST)

Chinese firms threaten to close power plants unless Pak clears dues (representative image). Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

If plants are closed, a severe power crisis will unfold at a time when the government is battling economic crisis and protests held by former PM Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The crucial matter was raised at a meeting, which was presided over by Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal

Even as Pakistan is facing a huge economic crisis, it could also go powerless soon.  

This comes as more than two dozen Chinese firms or Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have threatened to cease operations at power plants on Monday if payments are not made upfront, media reports said.   

Pakistan has to pay more than Rs 300 billion Pakistani rupees (US $1.59 billion) in dues to several Chinese firms, who are operating in Pakistan.   

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If plants are closed, a severe power crisis will unfold at a time when the government is battling economic crisis and protests held by former PM Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).  

The crucial matter was raised at a meeting, which was presided over by Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal.  

In it, more than 30 Chinese companies, which are operating under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), in several areas like energy, communication, railways, etc, raised their issues.  

Several other complaints like complex visa procedures for Chinese executives, taxation, etc were made by these firms. Pakistani side also complained of delayed responses to communications, a Dawn report said citing sources.  

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One after another, around 25 representatives of these Chinese firms complained about the dues. They said the plants will shut down within days if upfront payments are not made.   

They also complained of high prices of fuel, especially coal.   

The Chinese were assured by Iqbal that the PM Shehbaz Sharif has taken notice of the situation. The relevant authorities have been asked to brief him about the issue and arrangements will be made for early payments. The financial difficulties of these firms will be solved within this month, he said.   

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(With inputs from agencies) 

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