ISLAMABAD

The PML(N) government has apparently shelved the plan of the previous government, for the establishment of energy ministry by merging the ministries of Water and Power with the Petroleum and Natural Resource as per its Energy Sector Reforms agenda.

“The government doesn’t seem interested in bringing the gross root changes required to bring the energy crisis to an end because if they were interested they would have nominated the owner of the energy sector, the Ministry of Energy” an expert in the Planning Commission told The Nation. Currently no one solely owns the energy sectors and this is one of the reasons of the energy crisis, the expert opined. What is the source of energy, the official questioned? And then replied that thermal, hydel, nuclear, solar and winds are the main sources of energy, if so why they should be managed by two different ministries? Two ministries and dozens of their staff are fulfilling the same responsibility without showing any improvement and the end result remains the same, inability to control the menace of power shortage.

In majority of countries, Power and Petroleum are combined in one energy ministry but in Pakistan government remains hesitant to opt for their merger, he said. “There is neither a single accountable institution nor enabling legislation to promote energy efficiency in the country,” the experts said. Now look at the new Energy Sector Reforms agenda of the government for the coming fiscal, the governments talk about the merger of Nepra and Ogra but they do not talk about Ministry of Energy. They will not tell you that the merger of these two authorities is meaningless without the merger of Power and Petroleum into one, the official said.

The merger of the ministries was part of an Integrated Energy Sector Plan prepared by the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) energy sector task force and spearheaded by the Asian Development Bank. The Energy Expert Group who authored the country’s Integrated Energy Plan 2009-22 has strongly recommended singular ownership of the energy plan for implementation with specific targets for delivery within a given time frame.

The previous government has concurred with the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) to merge the ministries of power and petroleum and their concerned regulators to end their conflicting roles and bring them under a unified command to work out a plan to solve energy problems. At that time, the government agreed to establish the Ministry of Energy by January 2012 to ensure integrated policy development, planning and implementation but after the passage of three and a half year nothing tangible took place. “We in the Planning Commission have time and again recommended the merger of both ministries”, the official informed. When the official was asked about the hurdles in the way of ministries mergers, he said that lobbies are creating hurdles and that is the reason that it is not part of the government energy sector reform agenda. In this country no one wants to give up authority and every one wants to maintain status quo, the official maintained.