OGRA, NEPRA among five regulators placed under command of ministries

ISLAMABAD: Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) are among five regulators which have been placed under command of ministries by the federal government.

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Cabinet Division issued notification regarding these amendments after formal approval of premier.

Through the said notification, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has been brought under the administrative control of Water & Power Division.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has been placed under the administrative control of Information Technology and Telecom Division.

Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) will resume its functions under the administrative control of Information Technology and Telecom Division.

Prime Minister has transferred administrative control of Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) from Cabinet Division to Petroleum & Natural Resources Division. Similarly, Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) would now be functional under administrative control of Finance Division.

Amendments have been made in Rules of Business, 1973 to place above mentioned regulators under the said ministries.

According to sources, the step has been taken to take decisions of own choice.

Placing of regulators under administrative control of the ministries without formal consent of provinces is unconstitutional.

All provinces and World Bank have opposed this decision. Going one step forward, World Bank had warned the government of halting loans if any such decision was made.

It has also been learnt that legal departments of NEPRA, OGRA and PTA have declared federal government’s decision against law. Both departments of power sector have opposed this decision of federal government.

Continuous changes in decisions by the federal government and NEPRA in annual power tariff including solar and coal tariff, Nandipur power project and LNG’s projects are reason behind these amendments.

A high-level officer, who is well aware of changes made in NEPRA act 1997, told that now power regulators are bound to follow guidelines of the federal government without any excuse.

Another officer told that NEPRA has opposed government’s high-handedness in past ten years including over receipts of losses and non-payments of bills. Likewise, OGRA has also opposed several federal government’s decision in past.

Federal government wanted to merge ministries for power and petroleum into single ministry. Federal government had proposed this integration in annual plan of 2015-16.

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