NA Body Directs IT Ministry to Speed up Establishment of Telecom Tribunals

The National Assembly Standing on Cabinet Secretariat while taking up delay in the establishment of Telecommunication Tribunals, directed the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) to expedite the process and report back the outcome to the committee within thirty days.

The Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat met under the chairpersonship of Kishwer Zehra on Wednesday. The committee was apprised that the establishment of the said Tribunals had principally been approved by the Federal Cabinet, however, the Ministry of Law advised for amendment was required in Telecommunications Re-organization Act 1996 to give effect to the decision of the Cabinet.

The representative of the IT ministry informed that the draft of the amendment bill had been prepared and would be forwarded to Law Ministry for vetting and further presented to Cabinet Committee on Legislative Cases (CCLC) and the Federal Cabinet for final approval before sending it to Parliament for approval.

The committee while discussing issues related to performance and regulatory functions of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), recommended enhancing the power of the Authority in order to capacitate the regulator to more effectively regulate the power sector.

The committee was apprised that NEPRA had no role in the appointment of management of the power generation and distribution entities, thus its scope was limited.

The NEPRA chairman apprised that electricity generated by Thar coal and hydroelectric power generation apart from generation through renewable energy would substantially help save foreign exchange. The committee also recommended that a similar tariff on three-phase meters be charged as admissible to lifeline customers who consume units within that range. The committee was of the view that irrespective of consumption, the tariff charged on three-phase meters was high. The committee also asked NEPRA to take action against DISCOs for not complying with the directions and schedule of load shedding.

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