Bureaucracy blocks EOBI’s investment in energy projects

It wanted to invest billions of rupees in Diamer Bhasha Dam, LNG import.


Imran Rana February 15, 2013
“In the past, EOBI made proposals for investment in various projects of electricity generation to the government, but unfortunately these could not get through,” says Gondal. PHOTO: ARIF SOOMRO/EXPRESS/FILE

FAISALABAD: The Employees Old Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) could not succeed in its efforts to invest in energy projects as bureaucratic hurdles stood in its way, instead the organisation is now pouring money into construction of three-star hotels in different cities of the country.

“In the past, EOBI made proposals for investment in various projects of electricity generation to the government, but unfortunately these could not get through,” said EOBI Chairman Zafar Iqbal Gondal while speaking to members of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) on Friday.

EOBI had offered to invest Rs15 billion in the Diamer Bhasha Dam and another project, but Wapda did not approve it. Similar was the fate of investment interest in the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar.

He asked regional EOBI offices to hold regular meetings of advisory and dispute resolution committees in order to avoid misconception and resolve problems faced by the business community. “FCCI will be given representation on the EOBI board of trustees,” he announced. Gondal pointed out that an agreement had been signed with NADRA and the Easy Paisa facility would be offered for quick delivery of pensions to the people.

He praised the employers for their positive role in encouraging worker pension contributions, which has led to a massive increase in EOBI funds from Rs149 billion to Rs250 billion in a short span of three years, when he took charge.

Earlier, FCCI President Mian Zahid Aslam highlighted the tough business conditions in which industrial units were operating in Faisalabad. The top most concern was prolonged electricity outages and suspension of gas supply for continuous 68 days in the winter. Gas supply has now been resumed for two days a week, curtailing industrial production to 50% of capacity.

He said prices of industrial inputs and utility charges along with minimum wage, EOBI and social security contributions and other government levies had increased the cost of production.

He called on the EOBI to invest in electricity generation projects as the industry was in dire need of energy to keep its wheel running. EOBI could also get lucrative returns from such projects compared to investment in buildings, plazas, roads, hotels and real estate.

Aslam asked the EOBI chairman to stop harassment on the plea of record checking and accept whatever pension contributions made by industries under prevailing circumstances, freeze arrears of industrial units and waive the unpaid contributions and penalties on closed units.

He suggested that EOBI should find new contributors instead of burdening the existing ones, hold regular meetings of advisory and dispute resolution committees and fix the 30th of month as last date for the receipt of contribution.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2013.

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COMMENTS (4)

gp65 | 8 years ago | Reply

EOBI seems like a pension fund with responsibility to regularly make payments to millions of pensioners. Such funds are regulated world wide and prevented from investing in long duration, high risk ventures. Energy sector in Pakistan has serious liquidity problems, so these guidelines may well have been prudential. Information listed here is not adequate to indicate that the decisions of the bureaucrats was malafide.

JJ | 8 years ago | Reply GOOD MOVE BY "BUREAUCRATE"
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