ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Science and Technology (MoS&T) and National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (NEECA) have locked horns after the latter sent “controversial” agenda for its Board meeting, well informed sources told Business Recorder.
Recently, a high-level body decided to transfer NEECA, an arm of Power Division, to the Ministry of Science and Technology, as the entity’s operational activities are cohesive with the former organisation’s functions.
NEECA sent an agenda of its Board meeting to the MoS&T a couple of days ago, which has irritated their new administrative Ministry.
“Ministry of Science & Technology is recording its dissenting note to the agenda items of Board meeting drafted without paying any heed and with undue haste. This Ministry does not concede to the agenda of the meeting (especially the proposal of re-appropriation of budget) which clearly reflects the mala fide and self-serving intentions of management NEECA,” said Shafqat Khan, Assistant Technological Advisor to Ministry of Science and Technology in a letter to CEO NEECA Sardar Mohazzam.
The representative of Ministry of Science and Technology has been instructed to record dissenting note on its behalf, says the letter.
According to the Assistant Technical Advisor, the short notice of the meeting has impeded the Ministry’s internal deliberations on the agenda of the meeting. Further the process of shifting of NEECA to Ministry of Science& Technology is also in process. The Cabinet Committee for Institutional Reforms (CCIR) has approved the shifting of NIEECA to Ministry of Science & Technology, he added.
“The Competent Authority has directed that the 7th Board meeting of NEECA may be postponed keeping in view the decision of CCIR and suggested that the Board meeting may be held after the decision of the Federal Cabinet and by observing the codal formalities”, Khan added.
NEECA was established under an Act of Parliament in 2016, erstwhile known as National Energy Conservation Centre (ENERCON). NEECA was supposed to serve as a federal focal agency mandated for initiating and coordinating all energy conservation activities in different sectors of the economy.
Further, the major portion and relevant provisions such as under Section 4(3), 7(e) and 10(a) 1006), 10(c), 10 (g), 1o0h), 100), 10(o), 11(), 11(2), 13(9-a), 13(9-b), 15(1), 15(2-a), 16(a) and 16(b) of the National Energy Efficiency & Conservation Act are focusing on the formulation of product standards and are linked to the approval of the National Standards Body under PSQCA.
According to Ministry of Science and Technology, to develop and implement the Energy Efficiency Standard & Labelling (EES&L) programs and the Energy Conservation Building Code as per the NEECA Act, NEECA has to rely on the Ministry of Science & Technology (MoS&T) and the institutions under its administrative control like Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC), Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) and Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).
With the recent decisions to increase electricity tariff, accelerating the energy efficiency initiatives without delay in all sectors of the economy is the top priority of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the sources added.
Different initiatives have already been taken by the MoS&T in this regard through departments under its administrative control. Almost all the technical initiatives of NEECA as specified in the NEECA Act are dependent on the institutions under the administrative control of MoS&T like the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), accredited testing lab facilities, building code including the energy provisions, etc. There needs to be coherence in the timelines of PSQCA-MEPS notifications, inclusion of products in its mandatory list and the Star-Rating Regulations of the NEECA have to be issued as per their procedures laid down in the NEECA Act and Regulations. The delays by NEECA on certain initiatives were inadmissible and are already hampering the energy efficiency initiatives taken by the MoS&T.
The MoS&T, in a letter on February 02, 2022 requested Ministry of Energy (Power Division), Institutional Reforms Cell (IRC) and Ministerial Wing of Cabinet Division for their views/ comments as per rules.
Ministerial Wing of Cabinet Division stated that in case both the Divisions agree with each other, the Cabinet Division has no objection to the proposal. IRC in another letter of February 08, 2022 stated that IRC supports the transfer of NEECA and suggested that possibility may be explored for future merger of NEECA with one of similar bodies of Ministry of Science & Technology (e.g., PSQCA) to ensure more efficient and economic utilization of resources.
The sources maintained that Ministry of Energy (Power Division), in its comments sent on February 17, 2022 has endorsed the proposal of Ministry of Science & Technology for placing NEECA under the administrative control of MoS&T.
The sources said, operational activities of NEECA are most cohesive with institutions of MoS&T, i.e., PSQCA, PNAC, PEC and PCSIR and to enable the MoS&T to implement different energy efficiency initiatives swiftly for public interest, national energy security, minimizing the rate of increasing energy poverty and mitigation of Green House Gasses (GHG) emissions, the National Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority should be placed under the Administrative Control of MoS&T to strengthen the existing ecosystem of quality and to enhance its capabilities towards socioeconomic development.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022