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Nepra chairman resigns

Chairman National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) Khalid Saeed has resigned without stating any reason however insiders claim that his tenure had expired. "Chairman Nepra has resigned due to personal reasons," Syed Safeer Hussain, Nepra spokesman told to Business Recorder.

Chairman Nepra has tendered his resignation at a time when relations between the Ministry of Water and Power and Nepra are very tense over fixation of tariff at Rs 12 per unit as benchmark because of massive increase in furnace oil prices in the international market.

Khalid Saeed, former District Management Group (DMG) officer, was Principal Secretary to the then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz before taking charge as head of the power regulator entirely against the wishes of Senate of Pakistan. Sources speculate that the Prime Minister will appoint Shaukat Ali Kundi as new Chairman and analysts argue that a non professional should not be replaced with another non professional at a time when the power sector is in deep trouble. Shaukat Kundi, presently working as Member Nepra, represents Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP).

Media reports suggest that Khalid Saeed was appointed for a four year period as Nepra chairman on February 15, 2008, and this notification became part of the Gazette of Pakistan Part-1. As per the notification, his tenure expired on February 15, 2012. However, Nepra spokesman claimed that his tenure as Chairman commenced from January 1, 2009 when the Cabinet Division issued notification of his appointment for four years which implies that he is Chairman till December 31, 2012.

Spokesman further clarified that Khalid Saeed performed as Chairman Nepra and held the additional charge of Principal Secretary to the then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz at that time. Insiders also claim that he altered the criterion required for Chairman Nepra to ensure his appointment in the regulatory Authority.

In 2008 when he was made Chairman Nepra, Senators from both the treasury and opposition benches expressed serious reservations. PPP's then Senator Enwar Baig raised the issue in the House and got support from other senators however they were unable to dislodge Khalid Saeed due to his influence. The then Chairman senate Mohammadmian Soomro, however, defended the continuation of Khalid Saeed as chairman Nepra. Soomro said Khalid should be given some time to bring about changes in the Nepra system.

In reply to a question, Nepra spokesman said that Chairman would continue serving until Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani accepted his resignation. However, if the Prime Minister accepts resignation of incumbent Chairman and does not appoint a new Chairman, then Vice Chairman Ghayasuddin will work as Acting Chairman for which a notification will be issued by the Cabinet Division.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012