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KP, Sindh oppose move to change regulatory bodies’ status

KP, Sindh oppose move to change regulatory bodies’ status

ISLAMABAD: Two provinces have opposed the centre’s move to bring the regulatory bodies under the administrative control of the respective ministries, fearing infringement of their independent decision making.

According to sources, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have serious reservations over transfer of the regulatory bodies from the Cabinet Division to line ministries because of their greater revenue reliance on oil and gas, electricity and water.

In a letter to the federal government, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has gone a step further, demanding withdrawal of the summary titled ‘Transfer of regulatory authorities from the Cabinet Division to respective line ministries’ from the agenda of the meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) being held on Thursday.

He has reminded the federal government that critical decisions of national importance and far-reaching consequences should not be taken in haste and without proper homework. He said the proposed move for transfer of regulatory authorities to the ministries involved “long-term implications for rights of the province”.

“There is a need for a detailed and careful deliberation at our end before firming up our viewpoint for consideration of the CCI; which for sure cannot be done in a short span of one day only,” Mr Khattak said.

The sources said that the KP chief minister had also protested with Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordi­nation Riaz Hussain Pirzada over taking up the issue in the agenda of the CCI without sharing the summary with the provincial governments.

The letter indicated that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was particularly suspicious of transfer of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority to the water and power ministry. An official, however, said it was mainly worried because of power generation from the Tarbela dam — a critical source of its revenue — and upcoming hydropower projects but it was equally perturbed about the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority.

Mr Khattak demanded that “in the meanwhile, discussion on the issue may please be postponed till the next meeting of the CCI”.

The sources said that the Sindh government had also finalised its strategy not only to oppose the change in the status of regulatory bodies but also the creation of a national security fund by taking a three per cent slice out of the federal divisible pool.

A seven-point agenda for the CCI meeting has been approved by the prime minister. This includes the national security fund, transfer of administrative control of all regulatory bodies to the ministries concerned and the launch of the sixth Population and Housing Census in March next year.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2016

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