Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Tabish Gohaur hinders $9.5 billion foreign investment in Pakistan


Country’s economic hub Karachi, which contributes 65 percent of the overall revenue collection, remains victim to the apathy of those in charge.

The major problems of the city include multiplying population, absence of sanitation system, unorganized traffic, and electricity shortages. Despite ample resources, the politicians and bureaucracy are only aggravating the situation.

To recall, Pakistan Steel Mills, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), and Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) were considered highly efficient and productive institutions, but with the passage of time, these assets were preyed on by personal interests and nepotism.

Financial irregularities and political appointments destroyed the institutions like SSGC and Pakistan Steels, as well as killed merit. Similar treatment was accorded to KESC in past.

At the time of its privatization to a Saudi-backed group, KESC was bankrupt and the government did not have the capacity to run the strategic utility.

Abraaj Group injected huge sums to keep KESC afloat and controlled the losses including transmission and distribution leakages; however, political compromises still remain a hurdle.

Analysts believe the inconsistency of policies deterred foreign investment. Now that Imran Khan lured foreign investors to the country, the ‘commission mafia’ got activated derailing the process.

It is an established fact that the $9.5 billion planned investment by Shanghai Electric could solve the electricity problems of the cosmopolitan city, but certain quarters including former employees of K-Electric are busy hatching conspiracies against the win-win deal.

It is said that the former Chairman K-Electric Tabish Gohaur, now PM’s Advisor on Energy and Petroleum, is the biggest hurdle in the way of the strategic acquisition of K-Electric by Shanghai Electric and subsequent investment of $9.5 billion. It is said that Tabish didn’t forget his removal from the office of Chairman K-Electric.

At a time when the Covid-19 has jolted the entire world and Pakistan is fighting the battle of economic survival, the letter written by Tabish Gohaur has created absolute uncertainty while Pakistan’s all-weather friend China is also unhappy.

Although a number of scandals came to the surface since the tenure of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) including Tania Aidrus, Zafar Mirza, and Nadeem Babar, which compelled PM Imran Khan to take tough decisions. Nonetheless, Tabish Gohaur is complicating the issue of K-Electric and other institutions’ receivables, an issue that can easily be resolved in less than a week.

Experts say PM Imran Khan should personally intervene and solve the issue of K-Electric’s receivables and payables, as the planned investment by Shanghai Electric would also attract other international investors.

PM’s Advisor on Energy and Petroleum Tabish Gohaur are well known to all as he occupied four offices at Byco Pakistan at a time and the scandal of high-speed diesel smuggling surfaced during his time at Byco in July 2005. It may be mentioned here that Additional collector Amjad-ur-Rehman had recovered 392,000 liters of smuggled diesel, which was owned by Byco.

It is said Tabish Gohaur, founder of Oasis Energy, wanted to use the platform of a subsidiary Oasis Power Company to introduce some other investor against Shanghai Electric, but his plan failed.

According to numbers, the inconsistency of policies resulted in a decline of 14 percent in foreign direct investment.

In view of the reservations of Al-Jomiah Group, the federal government has decided to solve the issue of K-Electric’s receivables and payables on a priority basis. Meanwhile, PM Imran Khan has expressed his dismay over the letter of Tabish Gohaur, which was intentionally leaked to the media.

On the other hand, certain ministers in the federal cabinet have requested the Prime Minister to take notice of Tabish Gohaur’s letter, which sent a bad message to investors across the world.

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