- Council gives one-month deadline to Water and Power Ministry, provincial govts to resolve differences over the appointment of federal adjuster
Giving a nod to the much-awaited National Power Policy 2013, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Wednesday gave a one-month deadline to the Water and Power Ministry and the provincial governments to resolve their differences over the appointment of a federal adjuster for adjustment of power theft recovery, Pakistan Today learnt.
The CCI meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak and Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch.
A source, who attended the meeting, told Pakistan Today that the provincial governments of KP and Sindh had raised serious reservations over the federal government’s proposal in the national power policy for appointment of a federal adjuster.
“By appointing a federal adjuster, the federal government aims at adjusting at least Rs 225 billion from the share of the provinces in the National Finance Commission (NFC) which are outstanding and liable to the KP and Sindh governments who had failed to recover the amount from subscribers. The provincial governments of the KP and Sindh have severely opposed to this proposal. Under the federal government’s proposal, the KP government may lose Rs 100 billion while the Sindh government may lose another Rs 125 billion from their NFC shares as they have failed to recover the power theft amounts,” the source said.
The source added that both the chief ministers had informed the prime minister that their governments could not recover the amounts but they promised to renew efforts in this regard.
“Finally, the prime minister directed the Water and Power Ministry and the provinces to reach an agreement and resolve the matter within a month’s time,” the source added.
The prime minister congratulated the members of the CCI for consensus approval of the power policy.
During the meeting, the prime minister said it was the PML-N government’s policy to arrive at consensus decisions, a fact which, he said, was evident from the approval of the current power policy.
“We respect the mandate of all the provincial governments and will support them in their endeavours initiated for the welfare of the people,” Nawaz said, adding that the country was passing through a critical phase and therefore there should be greater unity and discipline among all.
About the no-confidence motion in AJK, the prime minister said, “We have to set principles of governance in our country. The no-confidence motion in AJK was not supported by the PML-N due to our principled stand for stabilising the provincial governments,” Nawaz said.
He stressed the need for learning from each other’s experiences and expertise. “Each province should share its success with other provinces so that it can be replicated. We can overcome our shortcomings and improve our governance through sharing and working closely with each other,” he said.
Later, the report of the technical committee on power policy was presented before the CCI, which unanimously approved the national power policy with a few additions.
The committee report had incorporated the Sindh government’s demand for developing coal and wind corridors with the facilitation of federal government. The technical committee also proposed integrated utility courts for dealing with electricity and gas thefts and rationalising penalties for such crimes in light of principles of jurisprudence. Both the proposals were approved by the CCI and made part of the National Power Policy.
The meeting also discussed the transmission and distribution difficulties faced by the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The prime minister assured them that the federal government was ready to provide adequate funding and assistance for effective distribution of electricity to the provinces.
The meeting also discussed energy efficiency and conservation measures. Nawaz said conservation of energy needed homogeneous implementation by all provinces so that steps taken to conserve energy could have a balanced effect on the entire country.
About the vast opportunities of hydro power production in his province, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister said huge investment opportunities were available in his province and his government had already started two run-of-the-river projects in Kohistan district.
He asked for the federal government’s assistance to further explore such opportunities. The prime minister assured Khattak of complete support of the federal government and asked him for identification of more such projects for optimum utilization of hydro resources.
The Sindh chief minister said wind resource in the coastal region of Sindh needed to be explored to provide cheap electricity and would suffice the energy needs of the province.
The Balochistan chief minister stressed upon the need for provision of electricity to Balochistan from Uch-2 Project to cater to the power needs of the province.
Among others Minister for Overseas Pakistani and HRD Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi, Minister for SAFRON Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadi Baloch and Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf attended the meeting.