Chronic power bill defaulters may be prosecuted
KABUL (Pajhwok): Twenty-five government departments and senior state functionaries have to pay the power utility a sum of 2.7 billion afghanis in electricity bills, an official said on Thursday.
Ministries of interior, transport and aviation, public works, telecommunications, labour and social affairs, public health and counternarcotics are among the major defaulters.
Departments of prisons, civil aviation, revenue, water supply, IDLG, Afghan Telecom, state-run TV, the Supreme Court, the provincial council and several other entities have also failed to clear their power bills.
Afghan Breshna Shirkat Media Director Wahid Wahidi told a press conference in Kabul the Ministry of Interior had defaulted on paying bills amounting 484 million afghanis, the Department of Prisons on 477 million afs and IDLG o 345 million afs.
The power utility was going to sign with NATO an agreement that would enable the Ministry of Interior and the Department of Prisons to pay their bills, the official said.
Abdul Halim Kohistani, head of prisons at MoI, acknowledged the department concerned had failed to pay its power dues. Before the close of the current financial year, efforts were being made to pay the bills partially, he added.
“The budget allocated to us is not enough to pay off our power dues,” said Kohistani, who was appointed to his present position two years ago. He hoped the liability would be reduced to some extent.
Wahidi said they had sent fresh reminders to the defaulters, but the letters failed to evoke a positive response. “The Presidential Palace is already aware of these letters, and no we want to inform people as well…”
Similarly, he added, influential consumers and ordinary people in Kabul had to pay the power utility about one billion afs. In the near future, he promised, a bill recovery campaign would be launched from the houses of defaulters, whose power supply was yet to be disconnected.
Chronic defaulters, besides being fined, might also be referred to the Attorney-General Office for prosecution, the official warned, urging consumers to discharge their obligation in time.
The power company was faced with an acute financial crisis because of wilful defaults, he admitted, saying it was becoming difficult for them to pay electricity exporters $250 million annually.
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