Import Ban: Haveli Bahadur Shah power plant facing closure

1230-MW RLNG-fired Haveli Bahadur Shah power plant is on the brink of closure and because of the recent import ban imposed by the incumbent government to preserve forex reserves.

In this regard the Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) has been informed that the Haveli Bahadur Shah power plant will stop operation if State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) does not approve its four transactions to import equipment/ spares.

For smooth and continuous operation of power plants to ensure supply of electric power to the national grid, maintenance activities during scheduled and unscheduled outages are required to be performed in a timely manner for which availability of requisite spares/ parts and consumables is essential.

On May 20, 2022, SBP through its EPD Circular Letter No. 09 of 2022, instructed banks (i.e., authorized dealers) to seek prior permission from SBP’s Foreign Exchange Operations Department (FEOD) before initiating transactions for import of machinery and parts for 25 specific HS Codes under customs tariff, which also pertain to power generating machinery. Later, in continuation of the circular, SBP vide its EPD circular 1 of2022 of July 05, 2022 expanded the scope of restricted items by including all HS Codes falling under Chapter 84 and 85 of customs tariff.

If the special permission for allowing import of spares is not granted the power plant is expected to fail resulting in a shortfall of electricity.

Many other essential items which are not manufactured in the country are also facing shortages. The government needs to devise a policy such that the import ban remains on luxury items only and essential parts can be imported at least.