ISLAMABAD-The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of Cabinet has approved amendments in ‘Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electronic Power Act 1997’. The ECC, which met under the chair of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, on Monday, has recommended for submission to the federal cabinet a set of amendments proposed by the Ministry of Energy to the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electronic Power Act 1997.

The government had already agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for making such amendment. Purpose of those amendments was to ensure full automaticity of the quarterly tariff adjustments and to eliminate the gap between regular annual tariff determination and notification by the government.

The ECC was told that the proposed amendments to the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electronic Power Act 1997 were aimed at bringing more clarity and precision in the market operation, uniform tariff, timely submissions and determination of quarterly and annual tariffs.

The ECC discussed the proposed draft amendments in detail and recommended their submission to the cabinet with a slight modification in the text to make it clearer as per input from some members of the ECC.

After the ECC’s go-ahead, the proposed Amendments would be taken up by the federal Cabinet and later submitted to the National Assembly Secretariat for further discussion by the NA Standing Committee and other relevant stakeholders, including Nepra, before being put to vote by the House.

It is worth mentioning here that the government had had given an understanding to the IMF that amendments to the Nepra Act will be passed in December 2019. However, the government had not summoned National Assembly or the Senate session last month. Therefore, sources informed that government may table the amended Nepra act in the current session of the parliament after getting approval from the federal cabinet.

Power Division has fulfilled two benchmarks i.e. to notify the FY 2020 electricity tariff schedule as determined by regulator and prepare a comprehensive circular debt reduction plan in collaboration with the international partners. Power Division will also give a detailed presentation on power projects including renewable energy projects.

The ECC could not take up the further agenda due to lack of time. Other points of the agenda were approval of technical supplementary grant of Rs 1 billion for Pakistan Tourism Development Endowment Fund during 2019-20.

Extension of Government of Pakistan (GoP) guarantee against credit facility of National Bank of Pakistan amounting to Rs 5 billion in favour of Utility Stores Corporation (USC), release of funds for payment of outstanding gas bills to Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and allocation of gas from PGNiG’s Rizq Gas Field to SSGCL are also on the agenda of the ECC.