ISLAMABAD: Amid an intensifying tension in gas sector, the board of directors of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) on Monday appointed Muhammad Waseem as new acting managing director – the third in less than two months.
Mr Waseem was working as deputy managing director (MD) operations in the company and reluctantly assumed the charge of acting managing director after his senior Imran Farookhi stepped down from the post.
Mr Farookhi was appointed as acting MD on Jan 11 after the federal government removed Amin Rajpoot from the post along with managing director of SNGPL in the heat of gas shortages. Mr Rajpoot was looking after the company’s top job as acting MD and returned to his original assignment of chief financial officer (CFO) in the same company.
Informed sources said Mr Farookhi and his counterpart in the SNGPL have been under pressure from influential members of the task force on energy and politically linked personalities to deliver on unwritten orders. This comes amid an ongoing controversy about over-billing to gas consumers following up to 143pc increase in gas rates approved by the government.
Early this month, the government ordered two separate inquiries – one by an audit firm and another by an internal committee of the petroleum division – to ascertain the billing issues within 10 days and submit a report to the Cabinet Committee on Energy led by Finance Minister Asad Umar.
The committee is yet to take up the subject again even though the deadline lapsed last week as the billing slabs were revised by the Petroleum Division, without supporting advice from the gas companies or the regulator.
The sources said some influential persons close to the government and energy task force wanted dedicated gas supplies to a few IPPs. Some of them were defaulters to gas companies where senior executives were operating in hostile working environment.
The sources said that Mr Farookhi was grilled last week at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy over his alleged inability to explain the LNG supply chain from imports to end consumers in SNGPL system.
Mr Farookhi is reported to have explained that his company’s role in the LNG supply chain was very limited and questions being raised by the committee should be referred to Pakistan LNG Ltd that arranged imports, or the SNGPL that supplied it to various consumer groups.