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CCI agrees to Shahbaz move against unequal outages

Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday moved a resolution during the meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) raising the issue of unequal electricity loadshedding among the provinces and calling for making it justified and equitable in the country.

The CCI meeting unanimously approved the resolution and decided to constitute a committee to take up the complaints of the provinces about the equitable electricity loadshedding.

The CCI meeting, which was the 19th meeting and the 9th after the passage of 18th Amendment, was chaired by Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. The meeting, held at the PM Secretariat, decided to form a committee headed by the minister for water and power with the chief secretary and a technical member from each province as its members. The Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the committee include recommendation of a mechanism to ensure equitable distribution of available electricity and measures for recovery of power dues. The prime minister directed the committee to submit its recommendations within one week.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, the prime minister recalled that the present crisis was due to the failure of previous government to add a single megawatt of generation capacity to the system. However, despite constraints, the government was successful in adding 3,300MW to the national grid.

The CCI members discussed the energy crisis at length and considered its various aspects and complications.The CCI approved the Petroleum Policy 2012-13, paving the way for Petroleum Policy 2012-13 paving the way for much-awaited bidding of blocks to accelerate the exploration and production of oil and gas activities.

“Now we are going to soon initiate the bidding process for blocks to the national and international companies for increasing the E&P (exploration and Production) activities in the country, Dr Waqar Masud, Secretary Petroleum and Natural Resources told The News. The council, however, did not clear the Mineral Policy 2012, as provinces said that there is a need to hold more consultation to develop the consensus mineral policy of the country.

As far as the presentation on Reko Diq issue after Tethyan Copper Company Limited of Australia (TCCA) moved International Centre for Settlement Investment Disputes (ICSID) and International Chamber of Commerce (CCI) against the refusal of granting the Reko Diq mining lease, Mr Masud said that CCI had no time to get the briefing on this particular issue.

Coming to the Petroleum Policy 2012-13, he said that the government was to soon initiate the auctioning of 30-40 blocks to oil and gas companies. According to the official, the new wellhead price will now in the range of $6 to $9 per million British thermal unit (MMBTU) whereas current wellhead gas price stands at $4.5 per Million British Thermal Unit (MMBTU).

Under the new petroleum policy, the provinces have been allowed to receive royalty in the form of gas – instead of cash – to meet energy requirements of the province.

To settle the dispute between provinces and the federal government over oil and gas reserves, a technical committee under the chairmanship of the secretary, Petroleum and Natural Resources, will be formed. The committee will comprise a nominee from each of the provinces, the Directorate General of Petroleum Concessions (DGPC), the Director General (Gas) Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, transmission and distribution companies, Pakistan Petroleum Exploration and Production Companies Association, and concerned exploration and production (E&P) companies. The committee will be empowered to resolve key issues between E&P and gas marketing companies.

An issue pertaining to the salaries of employees of Population Welfare Department devolved to provinces after the 18th amendment was also discussed. It was decided that federal secretary, planning and federal secretary finance along with representatives of provincial governments would work out modalities to resolve the issues.

PM appreciated the understanding and flexibility shown by the chief ministers of the provinces in devising a mechanism for equitable distribution of electricity in the country. He said that the government was able to arrive at the 7th National Finance Commission (NFC) Award which would go a long way in strengthening the federation. He expressed the confidence that the energy challenge would also be resolved in the same spirit.

The CCI passed a resolution proposed by Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Shraif stating that “the CCI meeting expresses concern over the situation arising out of the shortage of electricity and consequent loadshedding in the country and believes that efforts be made to resolve this crisis in an effective and result-oriented manner”.

CCI therefore decides that in order to strengthen the federation and promote solidarity among the people of the country, a system for equitable distribution of electricity should be devised in the light of decisions taken during the energy conferences held in Islamabad and Lahore.

The meeting was attended by Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan, Minister for Communication, Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Minister for Science and Technology, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination, Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Punjab, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Chief Minister Sindh, Amir Haider Khan Hoti, Chief Minister Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (LP), Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani, Chief Minister Balochistan, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Finance, Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Defence, Dr Asim Hussain, Adviser to PM on Petroleum, Secretaries Cabinet, Finance, Petroleum and Natural Resources, Water and Power, Railways, Religious Affairs, EAD, IPC, Planning and Development, Chief Secretaries Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan, and other senior government officials.

APP adds: Meanwhile, Minister for Water and Power Ch Ahmed Mukhtar has asked the Energy Management Committee (EMC) to streamline the load management, ensure equitable loadshedding in the country and provide maximum relief to the consumers.

He gave these directions while presiding over a meeting of the Energy Management Committee (EMC). The minister asked the committee to revise the plan for equitableloadshedding both for urban and rural areas.

The minister also directed to provide details of the sectors which were being given maximum relief in loadshedding.Earlier, the EMC briefed the minister on the current power situation, load management schedule for urban and rural areas and future plan of action for providing relief to the consumers and exemption of loadshedding during Sehar and Iftar

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