ISLAMABAD  - The Council of Common Interests (CCI) will meet today (Tuesday) to discuss six-point agenda, including long awaited Energy Policy 2013-18, and to ensure economic discipline by provincial governments to generate the budget surplus of Rs23 billion, as committed with the IMF for a fresh loan programme.

PM Nawaz Sharif will chair the first meeting of the CCI after formation of new government after general elections. Chief ministers of four provinces will attend the meeting apart from few federal ministers.

Sources said CCI would take up six-point agenda, mainly the Energy Policy 2013-18 under which government has planned to overcome the electricity crisis. The federal government will take provincial governments on board on steps taken to implement energy policy.

Sources further informed that CCI would also take up the issue of ‘inter-provincial transfer and fiscal discipline’ during the meeting.

Ordinances on gas, power thefts

To control increasing gas and power thefts in the country, petroleum and power ministries have separately drafted ordinances and sent them to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) for approval, sources said on late Monday.

Sources said that the ministry of petroleum and natural resources has sent a draft ordinance to the CCI, to recover billions of rupees worth outstanding dues and control the rising power theft. The proposed ordinances if get the nod of CCI would be sent to President Zardari for final approval. They also said that billions of rupees worth outstanding dues were pending with the mighty influential persons due to absence of any effective law for recovery. The draft ordinance will significantly help the government tighten its noose around the defaulters as well as thieves, they confidently added.

“The draft ordinance recommends establishment of gas utility courts in order to take necessary actions against influential gas thieves, besides proposing 2 per cent reward for the informer out of the total amount recovered from gas thieves and defaulters,” a senior official at petroleum ministry said, adding, “These courts will take the gas thieves and defaulters to task and will be mandated to impose penalty and recover gas dues.”

The sources also said that under the ordinance gas courts will be authorised to impose fine raging between Rs 3 million to Rs 10 million and impose 2 to 3 years imprisonment to the thieves. The decision of proposed gas courts can be challenged in the high courts. They also said that the ordinance also allows the gas utilities to freely enter the premises of any institute where they need so.

Meanwhile, sources in water & power ministry informed that to launch a crackdown, impose fine and punish the electricity thieves, the power ministry has sent a draft of ordinance to the CCI ostensibly to take the thieves and defaulters of ailing power sector to the task because 2 million power theft cases were pointed out and FIRs (first information report) against the thieves were also registered. But owing to absence of necessary law recovery from these influential power thieves and punishments could not materialised in true manners as the recovery against these thieves remained at only Rs 1.3 billion, while 23,000 FIRs were registered during the outgoing fiscal year (2012-13). Ironically, Rs 90 billion losses have badly affected the economic health of ailing power sector, they added.