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Event Title: Meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad here at Parliament House

Event Date: 2021-09-14

Meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad here at Parliament House Today.

At the outset of the meeting Chairman NEPRA briefed committee members regarding inclusion of hydropower in renewable energy category.
Chairman NEPRA said that as per current definition of renewable energy, Pakistan stands at a meager 3% and hydropower share is almost 30%.  “Inclusion of hydropower in renewable energy category will have long term benefits for the country. It can further strengthen the Government of Pakistan’s objective to attain a “Clean and Green Pakistan” and help in achieving objectives of the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP +) for sustainable development and environmental protection creating an enabling situation to qualify for (GSP++) category in future. It can further help accessing the global green financing facilities, attracting the international interest and channeling it for sustainable growth of electricity sector of Pakistan. Inclusion of hydropower in renewable energy category will create opportunities to realize the carbon emissions credit and trading these in the international carbon markets/emissions trading schemes to gain financial returns/contributions” maintained Chairman NEPRA.
Chairman NEPRA further added that our target is to achieve 60% renewable energy share in future. Senator Saadia Abbasi asked how NEPRA will achieve this target of 60% renewable energy share. Answering to which Chairman NEPRA pledged to present a comprehensive plan of action with timeline in next meeting of the committee. Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan asked “What are the contributing factors in price hike of electricity in the country?”  Chairman NEPRA replied that devaluation of Pakistani rupee is one of the major factors in price hike. Circular debt is due to government subsidies extended to people of Pakistan.
Chairman Committee lamented the situation faced by common people of Pakistan. “It is becoming increasingly difficult for poor people to pay off their electricity bills. Policies should be framed keeping in mind the situation of common people. A proper investigation should be held in this regard and we are ready to form a committee comprising both of lawmakers and NEPRA officials in order to look into tariff related issues”.
Chairman Committee further proposed that Tariff of energy and petroleum goods should be approved by Parliament of Pakistan.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan sought explanation regarding NEPRA’s policy on small hydropower projects and incentives given by government in order to encourage such projects in the country.  “NEPRA only deals with projects which contribute towards national grid. Small localized hydropower projects do not come under the ambit of NEPRA” answered Chairman Nepra.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan further added that Pakistan is one of the most suitable countries in terms of Solar Power with almost 300 days of sunlight what is NEPRA doing to encourage the use of solar power in the country. We have introduced the system of net metering in the country by which consumers can not only generate their own electricity but also sell the surplus energy back to government. Said Chairman NEPRA.
Senator Rukhsana Zuberi Sought details regarding process of tariff determination for export and import of electricity. Chairman NEPRA said that policy making not the responsibility of the regulator. Government and relevant Ministry should be asked about policy decisions.
Chairman OGRA briefed the committee members on mechanism of determining prices of petroleum and gas especially recent reduction of Rs 1.5/- and increase in levy to Rs. 5/- on price of petrol.
Chairman OGRA said LNG business is a relatively new phenomenon in Pakistan. LNG is imported as per internationally adopted formula, according to which 70% of the LNG is imported through government to government long term contracts. And 30% is purchased on the spot as per existing rates at the time of purchase by two government owned entities PSO and PLL.
Chairman OGRA maintained that both PSO and PLL have to purchase LNG as per PPRA rules which do not incorporate latest procurement rules adopted internationally. Our existing laws which do not support latest procurement rules should be amended.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan lamented the delay in order booking of LNG incurring huge loss to national exchequer. He further added that why were the LNG supplies not secured at start of the year and once cancelled after initiation.
Senator Rukhsana Zuberi Said that “Why did not we buy LNG in time. Who is responsible for this huge loss of public money? This is due to monopoly of PSO and PLL. We do not have storage capacity for LNG. When will we build storage capacity for LNG”
Chairman OGRA replied that we have issued 6 licenses to companies for gas marketing in Pakistan. We have also issued two new licenses for LNG terminals at Port Qasim. Chairman OGRA maintained that price of petrol in Pakistan is lowest in the region. Ex refinery price of Petroleum is 94 Rupees 38 paisas.
Senator Rukhsana Zuberi expressed her disappointment over delay in introduction of quality fuel and lack of storage capacity in Pakistan. “Oil refineries have been given 10% tax exemption amounting to billions of rupees from 2001 onwards for development of their infrastructure in order to introduce quality fuel and enhance storage capacity. Nothing has been done by these companies in all these years. Public money has been funneled in private business”.
Chairman OGRA replied that we should continue to support these refineries. Some of the companies have upgraded their systems for production of green environment friendly EURO 5 fuel in Pakistan.
Committee members discussed public petition PP-3745 pertaining to PTDC submitted by Malik Muhammad Khan, Chairman MK Pakistan. Chairman Committee expressed his displeasure at absence of Chief secretary Balochistan in the meeting. Senator Sadia Abbasi said that the case should be resolved on compassionate grounds. Representative from Balochistan government pledged to resolve the issue through discussions with all the stakeholders. Chairman Committee directed to resolve the issue at earliest and report back to the committee.
Chairman Committee while expressing his reservations regarding conduct of civil servants in Pakistan said that “Civil servants should listen to the grievances of the common people. “They should establish such a mechanism which can help them stay informed regarding problems faced by poor people of the country. There are lot of complains. Common people should not be treated this way. Officers should depute staff in order to solve issues and stay in contact with people”.  Chairman Committee directed officials of Cabinet Secretariat to issue an advisory to bureaucrats in this regard.  Chairman also expressed his resolve to take up the matter with Establishment Division
Meeting was attended by Senators, Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Kamil Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, Khalida Ateeb, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi, Saadia Abbasi, Naseebullah Bazai, Muhammad Talha Mahmood, Chairman OGRA, Chairman NEPRA and officials from Cabinet Secretariat.