CCI decisions misrepresented, draft bill sent to parliament after clearance


ISLAMABAD, June 20 (NNI): Spokesperson of the Ministry of Water and Power Tuesday while clarifying the news items appearing in a section of media regarding Federal Government’s move to incorporate Amendments in Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power Act, 1997 without approval of Council of Common Interests (CCI), termed it as based on wrong briefing, by officials as reported, while misinterpreting the decision of the CCI.

The CCI did not drop the Agenda related to the proposed Amendments in the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power Act, 1997, in its last meeting.

There was no protest letter from any Provincial Government and it is a totally baseless notion. In fact the Provincial Governments point of views on proposed Amendments were conveyed and duly incorporated.

The Spokesman said that in fact the CCI in its meeting decided on agenda that a meeting of all the Federating Units and Federal Government’s concerned Ministries be held immediately to finalize the proposed Amendments so that the final draft is submitted to the Parliament for due process.

It may be noted that a meeting of all the Provinces and the Federal Government was subsequently held under the Chairmanship of Federal Minister for Water and Power. The meeting after taking in-depth stock of the proposed amendments approved it with necessary modifications. A press release to the effect was also issued.

However, some officials came up with media briefing that CCI has dropped the agenda item and no decision was taken. The meeting of the Chief Ministers was followed by a series of consultative meetings between the Provinces and the Federal Government.

It may further be noted that the draft Bill has to go through the prescribed process under the existing lego-parliamentary set up. It would have in first place not been accepted if not approved by the forum competent for it, (the CCI).

The Spokesman noted with concern that such misinterpretation and briefing and production of documents in pick and choose manner may cause damage to the national cause. He said that briefing in a selective manner speaks volumes of vested interest of some individuals instead.

The Spokesman said that facts have been distorted. For example, they totally hide the fact that new powers have been added in the draft Amendments for the Regulator to have an effective control of the sector and no existing powers of the Regulator have either been curtailed or removed.

The new amendments also aim to bring qualified and relevant person to the Regulator with rich power sector background and experience. The media report should have studied and understood the daft Amendments before reporting.

Insofar as the changing of NEPRA Chairman and Members is concerned, it is absolutely false as the proposed Amendments will be with prospective effect instead of retrospective effect.

As a matter of fact, the proposed Amendments are aimed at substantially strengthening the Regulator and have been proposed to Parliament after detailed deliberations spanning over a year with the Regulator, the Provincial governments and international legal experts and international assistant partners.

It is unfortunate that despite most of the Regulators comments and inputs being included in the draft submitted to Parliament, NEPRA repeatedly distanced itself from the proposed amendments. This is all the more surprising since the Regulator itself will be the greatest beneficiary of these amendments which aim to give it strong powers of investigation, penalty and development of independent regulations not requiring any approvals of the Federal Government.