ISLAMABAD -  Three provinces, including Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, have decided to oppose any government’s move to place regulatory bodies - OGRA and NEPRA - under the line ministries. The provinces were of the view that the entities better be placed under the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination, it is learnt reliably yesterday.

The provinces are against the government’s move of bringing the regulatory bodies under the control of line ministries and evolved a strategy to oppose the step in the upcoming meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI), official sources told The Nation. 

The KP government in a letter to the IPC strongly protested the government’s intention of brining the regulatory bodies under the control of line ministries and termed the move violation of the constitution, they said. “We have Sindh and Baluchistan on our side and they have assured us to resist any such move to curtail the authority of the regulatory bodies,” they added.

The Prime Minster has convened the 30th meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) on December 15 and the summary to bring regulatory bodies, NEPRA and OGRA, under the control of relevant line ministries, was also on the preliminary agenda of the meeting. Currently the OGRA and NEPRA are under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division.

As per the Pakhtunkhwa government’s stand, the CCI is a vital constitutional institution and its role cannot be ignored, minimised or curtailed in any manner while formulating and regulating a policy in relation to the matters enumerated in Part II of the Federal Legislative List contained in the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution. Any legislative or executive action taken, with regard to the matters enumerated in Part II of the Federal Legislative List, while bypassing the Council would be considered as ultra vires to the Constitution, without any legal authority.

Since Oil & Gas and Electricity are under Section 2& 4 of the Part II of the Federal Legislative List (Annex-B) therefore, OGRA and NEPRA need to be under the supervision and control of CCI, the letter said.

The KP government further said that after the 18th Constitutional Amendment Act, Article 154 (1) is very clear in demarcating the Functions and Rules of Procedure of the CCI, where it is the supervisory and control authority over matters under Part II of the Federal Legislative List Fourth Schedule. Oil & Gas and Electricity are under Section 2& 4 of the Part II of the Federal Legislative List therefore, OGRA and NEPRA need to be under the supervision and control of CCI.

Therefore, the Regulatory Authorities (NEPRA & OGRA) should be transferred from the Cabinet Division to the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination and put under the supervision and control of CCI, immediately.

Sources said that the government has tried several times to bring the regulatory bodies under their control but the provinces opposed such move and would oppose it in the future. The regulatory bodies were supposed to protect the interest of all the stakeholders including government, investors and consumers. “Now we feel that the best place to protect the interests of all stakeholders is IPC and CCI,” they added.