Violation of Merit OGRA

PMLN Govt’s new decision to transfer the power of top five regulators including NEPRA, PPRA, OGRA, PTA, and FAB to respective ministries seems to be the violation of 18th amendment in Pakistan’s constitution.

Democracy in Pakistan is an illusion and role of institutes is merely for the sake of the name, just like that of President Mamnoon Hussain; PMLN government is going every mile to prove its dictatorial style of government, now it has launched a crackdown on regulatory authorities to bring them under the direct control of ministries.

The ruling party is continuing with the tradition of altering the structure of institutes just to favor its long rule and suppress any possible resistance. The recent decision of the government to bring the five important autonomous bodies under the government’s control just makes their status useless.

The five independent regulatory authorities that have been transferred to the ministries include;

  1. NEPRA (National Electric Power Regulatory Authority)
  2. PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority)
  3. FAB (Frequency Allocation Board)
  4. OGRA (Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority)
  5. PPRA (Public Procurement Regulatory Authority

 

All these authorities are important as they directly impact the Pakistan’s economy. It is necessary for all these authorities to assume a neutral position, to ensure that concerns of all the stakeholders are satisfied

Now, the final power to decide the prices of Oil and Gas rests within the Water and Power Division. The Ministry of Information Technology would be in a better position to steer the IT and telecom sector in Pakistan overruling the concerns of relevant stakeholders. As the power, energy, telecom and business sector or becoming more under the control of federal ministers, the chances of provinces to become marginalized have become increased.

Giving the direct control to the federal ministries is also a way to crush the spirit of the 18th amendment that promises to give greater provincial autonomy. After this transfer of higher power to individual departments of the government, the necessarily related decisions would also bypass the CCI (Council of Common Interest); a council reconstituted in 2010 under the 18th amendment; that comprises the prime minister and all the provincial chief ministers along with the few cabinet members.

There is already much rivalry among the provinces over the allocation of resources. Such decision by the government may fuel trigger this tug of war, as injustices are likely to occur with smaller states over the matter of economy and distribution of revenue.

PMLN which already has the reputation of making changes in machinery to favor itself has now given greater control to the federal ministers allowing them to make decisions that might lack a consensus from other provinces.