SBP declines to pay $45m to Iran for transformers import

ISLAMABAD: Fate of procurement of 13 heavy power transformers with installed capacity of 500-megahatt (MW) is in doldrums as the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has refused to pay $45 million to an Iranian firm in this regard.
Owing to US sanctions on Iran, SBP has declined to transfer Rs 4.50 billion to the Iranian firm, which had filed low bid in the process of bidding, official sources said. Sources said the matter was now hanged in abeyance and as a result colossal power tripping would continue till the matter was resolved.
The request was earlier made by Water and Power Ministry to the SBP to make sure the purchase of these heavy power transformers. Purchase of these power transformers was aimed to avoid ongoing tripping problems in the supply of electricity and also to upgrade the old transmission system, which in accordance to the incumbent regime was unable to transmit above 15,000 MW to the end power users, while the demand at peak hours stands at around 2,0000 MW during the humid and dry season in summer.
Official sources disclosed to Daily Times National Transmission and Dispatch Company in last year had issued a tender for the purchase of 13 power transformers. And, an Iranian firm filed low bid in the bidding process. So, it was decided to procure these transformers from this firm. However, with effect to the decision of SBP, purchase of power transformers has now been put in cold storage. Iranian firm has successfully manufactured these transformers for Pakistan. But now with effect to a categorical ‘no’ from SBP regarding payment to the firm, the procurement has so far been held in abeyance only because of US sanctions on Iran.
A senior official of Water and Power Ministry on the condition of anonymity informed payment on account of import of 60 MW of Iranian electricity to the country has also been stopped. And, it is feared power supply would remain suspended in the bordering areas of Balochistan province in near future, causing enhanced security risks for two countries. The Water and Power Ministry has so far recommended to the Finance Ministry to make the payment to Iran through a bilateral mechanism of barter trade of the two neighbouring countries. 

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Aaj Kal