Bhutta Appointed chairman of PPIB, AEDB boards

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet has appointed Secretary Power Division, Ali Raza Bhutta as Chairman of the Boards of Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB), as Minister for Power, Omar Ayub Khan has tendered his resignation as ex-officio Chairman of the Boards, official sources told Business Recorder.

Sources said that Power Division informed the Cabinet on December 22, 2020 that the Minister for Energy, referring to his discussion with the Federal Minister for Law and Justice Division during a Cabinet meeting, had tendered his resignation from the chairmanship of the AEDB, National Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (NEECA) and PPIB on September 11, 2020.

PPIB, NEECA and AEDB are statutory bodies established under the Private Power & Infrastructure Board Act 2012 (PPIB Act), National Energy Efficiency Conservation Act 2016 (NEECA Act) and Alternative Energy Development Board Act, 2010 (AEDB Act).

The relevant provisions of the Acts are as follows ;(i) according to Section 6(1) (a) of PPIB Act 2012, the Minister for the erstwhile Ministry of Water and Power (Now Ministry of Energy Power Division) is the Chairman of the PPIB Board. Section 8 (1) of the aforesaid Act provides that the meetings of the Board shall be presided over by the Chairman and in his absence a Member designated by the Chairman shall preside over the meeting of the Board ;(ii) according to Section 3(1) (a) of NEECA Act 2016, the Federal Minister of the Division to which subject matter of this Act stands allocated is the Chairman of NEECA Board. Section 3 (5) of the aforesaid Act provides that meetings of the Board shall be presided over by the Chairman of the Board or, in his absence, by the Vice Chairman or in his absence by any Member elected by the Board and; (iii) according to Section (4) of the AEDB Act 2010, the Chairman of AEDB Board shall be appointed by the Federal Government on such terms and conditions as may be determined by the Federal Government. Section 6 (7) of the aforesaid Act provides that in the absence of the Chairman, a Member designated by the Chairman shall preside over the Board meeting.

It was noted that Omer Ayub Khan, Minister for Energy argues that having tendered his resignation as Chairman PPIB and NEECA, he no longer had the authority to designate a member to preside over the meetings of the Board under section 8 (1) of the PPIB Act, 2012.

Prior to the Mustafa Impex Judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Minister for erstwhile Water and Power was appointed as the Chairman, AEDB by the Prime Minister.

The sources said it is evident that the Minister for Power is the Chairman NEECA and PPIB Boards in his ex-officio capacity and hence for actualization of the resignation tendered by the Minister for Power, amendments in the PPIB and NEECA Acts may be required. However, the Chairman AEDB is to be appointed by the federal government.

The positions of Chairman of these statutory organizations were critical as all strategic and many operational decisions in these organizations were taken at the Board level under the relevant statutes. As such holding of regular meetings of the Boards in these organizations was essential in the public interest.

It was further stated that Power Division was actively considering PPIB-AEDB merger and would be putting up a legislative proposal in this regard at the relevant fora.

Power Division sought the approval of the Cabinet to the following proposals, as interim arrangements in view of the need to hold Board meetings of these organizations: (i) the resignation of Omer Ayub Khan, Minister for Energy (Power Division) may be accepted. Secretary, Ministry of Energy (Power Division) may be appointed as the Chairman of the AEDB Board in terms of Section-4 of the AEDB Act and; (ii) Federal Cabinet, using the powers of the Chairman may allow Secretary, Power Division, in terms of Section 8 (1) of the PPIB Act to preside over the meetings of PPIB Board and exercise other powers of the Chairman till an amendment to the PPIB Act.

After a brief discussion, the Federal Cabinet approved the proposal of Power Division so that the Boards of PPIB and AEDB, may hold their meetings.

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