Access to Clean Energy Investment Program delayed due to Punjab, KP indifference


ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded $ 325 million ‘Access to Clean Energy Investment Program’ has been delayed owing to a lack of interest of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa officials for the provision of electricity to 25,587 schools and public health units in both provinces.

According to the information available with Pakistan Today, not a single has been spent to install the solar facilities in the far-flung schools and health units in Punjab and KP.

Sources told this scribe that due to lack of a chief executive officer (CEO) in the Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (PEDO), the department has asked for the withdrawal of the application, after taking $ 34 million in advance.

The PEDO has been working without a CEO after the KP government terminated the services of Akbar Ayub on the directives of the Peshawar High Court (PHC). Ayub’s services were terminated on multiple grounds, including qualification criterion and alleged violation of merit in his appointment.

On the other hand, Energy Department of Punjab is facing hurdles in implementation of its sub-project that is going on in different cities of Punjab, sources added.

Punjab energy department and PEDO are responsible to execute the matters pertaining to the Access to Clean Energy Investment Program.

The project, introduced with the help of the ADB, targets off-grid areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab and will contribute to Pakistan’s national goal of enhanced energy security.

Of the $ 325 million loan, $ 237.3m will be utilised for projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while the remaining $ 87.6 million will be used for projects in Punjab.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa component of the project will entail installation of around 1,000 micro-hydropower plants in off-grid locations, and installation of solar facilities in around 8,187 schools and public health facilities.

In Punjab, solar facilities will be installed in around 17,400 schools and public health facilities, with at least 30 per cent of the said schools being girls-only schools.

The programme will be implemented over a period of 5 years (2017-2021). It includes the provision of training to women in order to equip them to use the benefits resulting from the availability of electricity in each province.

The project focuses on strengthening, monitoring and internal audit functions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, including the establishment of an information and communications technology-driven monitoring system.

In the first week of November, a meeting was held to review the progress of the project. In the meeting, the Economic Affairs Division’ officials had shown reservation over lack of progress on the project, saying that Pakistan was paying 0.15 per cent of commitment charges every month and if these problems were not solved then the government would have to keep on paying commitment charges to the ADB.

Despite repeated attempts, KP government spokesperson Mushtaq Ghani could not be reached for comments.