Despite Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s directions, the newly merged Ministry of Energy has failed to take off.
According to an official source, the said merger has intensified the existing issues of the two divisions instead of making things easier, mainly due to bureaucratic turf competition.
The source further said that the merger has failed to take off due to lack of proper execution by the government.
“How can the things improve when both the wings of the ministry are being managed separately by two different Principal Accounting Officers?” the source exclaimed, adding that the merger hasn’t changed the way things are managed.
He said that the issues related to fuel and gas supply for power generation, as well payment, are still dealt with in an ineffective manner. “Only the file covers have changed, the instructions remain the same”, he confided.
Prime Minister Abassi had directed the merger of Power Division of the Ministry of Water and Power with the Ministry of Petroleum to form a collective Ministry of Energy. The intention was to help the power sector overcome the electricity shortfall in the country.
Even after almost a month since the merger, the ministry is without a full-time minister at the moment, and both the wings are headed by two young ministers of state. The two divisions will not be properly aligned until they’re headed by a full-time minister and a powerful secretary, who then will create new departments for the ministry, the source said.
Both the divisions have conflicting priorities as well. The Power Division’s priority is to get maximum gas allocated to the power generation sector. However, the Petroleum Division wants a careful allocation of natural gas as fertilizer, since industrial and commercial sectors also have huge requirements. They also want timely payment of all fuel supplies by PSO and Sui companies to the power generation companies.
Power and petroleum divisions were merged to create Ministry of Energy on the directions of the premier– a longtime demand which had been promised twice but never implemented. The business of both the ministries was subsequently redistributed between the two new divisions accordingly.