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RLNG-fired plants: government promulgates flawed law

The federal government has promulgated a hurriedly-tailored Ordinance aimed at giving a legal cover to the Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) to process Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG)-fired power plants to be established in the public sector. The government will establish RLNG-fired projects of 3600 MW in Punjab to deal with the power crisis prior to the end of its term.

Well-informed sources told Business Recorder that NAB tainted PPIB which was resisting the move of the Prime Minister's office on the plea that the organisation cannot deal with the power projects over and above its mandate. NAB has already issued arrest warrants for PPIB's former Managing Director, Fayyaz Elahi, for misusing authority in Rental Power Plants (RPPs); as well as another MD Noorul Arifeen Zuberi (now retired) who was behind bars for several months and is now out on bail.

Managing Director, Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA), opted to quit instead of becoming part of controversial projects. According to sources, Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) in its meeting on October 14, 2015 under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was directed to propose certain amendments to the Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) Board Act, 2012. The decision of the CCoE was communicated to the PPIB to draft requisite amendments in the law.

Subsequently, PPIB proposed such amendments to the Act and has submitted to the Ministry for further processing. The recommendations have been reviewed and a draft amendment Ordinance along with a statement of objectives and reasons and summary of the proposed amendments were submitted to the Prime Minister in a hurry on November 17, 2015 as the Prime Minister wanted the summary immediately.

Ministry of Water and Power, sources said, completed all the formalities in a hurry and even wrote in the summary to the Prime Minister that "in the interest of expediency and in terms of rules 16(2) of the rules of business, Prime Minister was requested to grant waiver of the requirement of in-principle approval of the draft Ordinance by the cabinet before the submission to the Ministry for redrafting/ vetting of the draft bill".

The draft of the Ordinance is as follows; Whereas, in the interest of smooth functioning of the power sector of Pakistan and in order to enable processing of public sector power projects through PPIB under the applicable power policies, it has become expedient to amend certain provisions of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board Act, 2012;

And whereas the Senate and the National Assembly are not in session and the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take an immediate action;

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of article 89 of the Constitution of the Pakistan, the President is pleased to make and promulgate the following ordinance:

1. Short title and commencement: (1) this Ordinance shall be called the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (amendment) Ordinance, 2015;(2) it shall come into force at once.

2. Amendment of section 2, Act VI of 2012:- in the Private Power and Infrastructure Board Act, 2012(VI) of 2012) hereinafter referred to as the said Act, in section 2,-

(i) In clause (f), the comma and words", other than the federal government or any enterprise owned or controlled by the federal government" shall be omitted; and the existing clause (j) , clause( k) and clause(m) shall be renumbered as clause (k), clause(i), clause (m) and clause (n), respectively, and after clause(i) the following new clause shall be inserted, namely :-

(f) "Public Sector Power Projects" means power generation, transmission or distribution facilities constructed or to be constructed, owned, managed or controlled by the federal government, a provincial government, a local authority or entity owned or controlled by any such government or authority where such facilities are specifically sanctioned by federal government to be established under the applicable power policies to be processed by Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB);".

Amendment of section 5, Act VI of 2012:- in the said Act, in section 5, in sub-section (20, (i) In clause (e), after the word "partnership" the words and coma " or for public sector power projects," shall be inserted ; and (ii) in clause (f), the word "their" shall be omitted and for the word " parties" the word " persons" shall be substituted.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015


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