NA Committee Urges MoiTT to Expedite the Establishment of Telecom Tribunals

The National Assembly Standing Committee has called for the speeding up of the process of establishment of Telecommunication Tribunals. The committee directed the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) to provide an update on the progress within thirty days. Under the chairpersonship of Kishwer Zehra, the committee met yesterday to address the delay in establishing the Tribunals. While the Federal Cabinet has given its approval in principle, the Ministry of Law has advised that an amendment is required in the Telecommunications Re-organization Act 1996 to implement the Cabinet’s decision.

During the meeting, the representative from the IT ministry informed the committee that a draft amendment bill has been prepared and will be sent to the Law Ministry for examination. Subsequently, it will be presented to the Cabinet Committee on Legislative Cases (CCLC) and the Federal Cabinet for final approval before being forwarded to Parliament for further endorsement.

In addition to discussing the Telecommunication Tribunals, the committee also addressed issues related to the performance and regulatory functions of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA). The committee recommended empowering NEPRA further to enhance its regulatory capacity in effectively overseeing the power sector. The committee acknowledged that NEPRA currently lacks authority in the appointment of management for power generation and distribution entities, limiting its scope of influence.

During the discussion, the NEPRA chairman highlighted the importance of electricity generated through Thar coal, hydroelectric power, and renewable energy in saving foreign exchange. The committee further recommended that the tariff charged on three-phase meters should align with the rates applicable to lifeline customers who consume units within that range. The committee expressed concerns that the current tariff on three-phase meters is high regardless of consumption. Additionally, the committee urged NEPRA to take action against Distribution Companies (DISCOs) that fail to comply with load-shedding schedules and directions.

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