Integrated approach needed to improve energy governance: Ahsan Iqbal

Integrated approach needed to improve energy governance: Ahsan Iqbal

bwISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal has said that Energy crisis has badly affected the economic sector of the country, adding that distribution system is also a major reason of energy crisis and we have to take un-popular decision to overcome the crisis.

Ahsan Iqbal, said that an integrated approach was needed to improve energy governance of the country, adding that f we failed to plan than after ten years a massive crisis of Water would become before the country.

He was addressing the concluding session of an energy conference here on Wednesday organized by Institute of Policy Studies and themed “Toward an Energy Secure Pakistan: Road to Recovery & Sustainability – Agenda for Action”.

The full-day conference themed “Toward an Energy Secure Pakistan: Road to Recovery & Sustainability – Agenda for Action” was addressed, among others, by Mirza Hamid Hassan, chairman IPS Tawanai Program and former secretary water & power, Dr Gulfraz Ahmad, former secretary for petroleum & natural resources, Khalid Rahman, DG-IPS, Dr Joseph Wilson, chairman, Competition Commission of Pakistan, Arif Allauddin, managing director, ENERCON, Zafar-ul-Hassan Almas, chief macroeconomics, Planning Commission, Usman Amin-Ud-Din, former minister for petroleum & natural resources, Salahuddin Rifai, senior energy consultant, Salman Azad, director, Punjab Power Development Board, and Dr Saeed Jadoon, head of reservoir engineering, OGDCL.

The speakers and discussants urged that a single ministry for energy was the need of the hour and were unanimous in underlying the need for a single energy ministry to tackle the crisis.

They deplored that there was no effective body or mechanism for energy administration at the national level; the roles were divided in three water tight ministries of petroleum & natural resources, water & power, and planning and there was no overarching institutionalized arrangement for coordination and optimization of synergies and efficiencies.

They viewed that effective coordination was not possible through committees as no cabinet member can bear on the roles of another as defined in the Rules of Business.

Mismanagement, corruption, nepotism, duplication of roles, lack of total merit and transparency in planning the energy projects were declared root causes of prevalent energy crisis; a high level national resolve and commitment was urged to resolve it.

Ahsan Iqbal in his speech stated, “In 1998, we had a plan to add 2800MW in the national grid by 2010 and we were working towards it but the 1999 coup obstructed that planning. The country was run on ad-hoc basis in the last 14 years and it is our biggest challenge to fix the wrongs committed during that period”.

He warned that the water crisis could be worse than the energy crisis in near future if immediate steps were not taken. There was only one project on which national consensus exists, i.e., the Diamer-Basha dam but the previous regime abandoned it and wasted five years, he further stated.

“We need to unbundle Diamer-Basha dam project. The dam and electricity generation combined will cost US$12bn but if only the dam is made, it will cost US$5.5bn only. The electricity generation part will be carried out through private investment,” he told the participants.

He underlined that energy conservation needs to be promoted and also deplored that 23-24 per cent line losses due to corruption and mismanagement in Pakistan were the highest in the world, which needs to be checked.

The government cannot provide subsidies endlessly if the cost of generation remains increasing hence the tariff needs to be raised. However, all efforts must be made to reduce the power generation cost, he said further.

“Drastic reforms needed to revamp the system of governance. The first two years of the present government will be tough however I am sure that these testing times will bear fruit and the nation will reap the benefits of good governance and economic reforms”, he claimed.

He was of the view that the Planning Commission had become a PC-1 approval agency in the previous regimes and no intellectual work was being done to take the country towards the path of progress. A delivery unit was now being developed at the Planning Commission where KPIs will be developed for all sectors and the concerned departments will be asked to send their reports based on those KPIs, he informed.

He also stressed for collaborative planning in participation of all think tanks and research organizations by the Planning Commission to make unified efforts to devise a strategic direction for the country for 2025 at least.

DG-IPS Khalid Rahman, in his inaugural speech earlier, said that during 2008 to 2013 the then opposition parties that now sit in the government were very vocal on energy crisis and had contested the elections with the promises – among others – of providing the people speedy and sustainable relief in this extremely important arena.

Accordingly, one finds in the election manifesto of the PML-N promises to undertake initiatives such as establishment of a ministry of energy & natural resources by integrating ministries of petroleum & natural resources and water & power

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