CCI to decide the fate of NEPRA’s sovereignty

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government might face music in getting an approval from the upcoming Council of Common Interests (CCI) to put an end to the sovereignty of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), it is learnt reliably.

The federal government has called a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Friday, April 28, 2017 to discuss a 12 point agenda, including amendments in the NEPRA Act. And, proposed amendments in NEPRA Act seek to bring the power sector regulatory authority ostensibly under the administrative control of the power ministry.

Sources in the power corridors said the PML-N government might face stiff opposition from the provinces of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the proposed amendments to clip the wings of NEPRA, which is an autonomous body. They said the prime minister, chief minister Punjab, and federal minister for water and power are annoyed with NEPRA over various issues pertaining to tariff determination and for failing to reduce the transmission and distribution losses for each power distributing company (DISCOs) etc. They said the government wanted to get CCI’s approval over the amendments in NEPRA Act primarily to make it mandatory for NEPRA to implement government’s instructions. However, so far, two provinces, Sindh and KP have opposed to any alteration in the NEPRA Act, which, as a result, will compromise the independence of the regulator (NEPRA), sources said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will preside over the 31st meeting of CCI on next Friday and the four chief ministers have been requested to attend the meeting as official invitations have been sent to provinces, ministries and divisions. The meeting will take up summaries/proposals of provincial governments of Balochistan, Sindh, and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa as well as of various ministries including the Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC), Water and Power, Petroleum and Natural Resources, cabinet and finance divisions for discussion and necessary approvals.

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According to the CCI agenda, the CCI will take up amendments in the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power Act, 1997, settlement of net hydel profit (NHP) issue between WAPDA and the government of Punjab, draft bilsl for the establishment of National Metreology Institute of Pakistan (NMIP), National Water Policy, National Forest Policy, 2015, short supplies of water in Pat Feeder and Kirthar canals, inquiry into corruption charges of Kachhi canal, supplies of gas to localities/villages within a 5 km radius of gas producing fields, resolution of energy problems of Balochistan province/enhancement of absorption capacity, establishment of fiscal coordination committee, implementation of Kazi Committee Methodology (KCM) for the calculation of NHP and the allocation of 1200 cusecs (650.5MGD) additional water for Karchi city (K-IV project), and senior citizens privileges as well.

 

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Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is a an investigative journalist at Profit. He can be reached at [email protected]
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