PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has excluded all development projects for K-P Energy and Power Department in its Annual Development Programme 2016-17.
The move came after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led provincial government, which had been advocating for the development of cheap hydel energy at the federal level, set a target of 56 mini/micro hydel power projects in the province.
Officials close to the matter said the K-P government had not included a single new development project for the energy department in ADP 2016-17. It asked the department to meet its development expenditures from the money available in the Energy and Power Development Fund (EPDF), formerly known as the Hydel Development Fund (HDF).
The department submitted 32 projects to K-P Planning and Development Department (P&D) to be included in ADP 2016-17. A copy of the documents, available with The Express Tribune, showed the department submitted only seven new projects at a cost of Rs5.5 billion. The rest of the 25 were ongoing projects from the previous years to be completed at a cost of Rs26.4 billion.
Only ongoing ones
The government has consented to include only three projects at a cost of Rs255 million in the ADP and even these are ongoing. It includes the creation of the planning and monitoring cell, making operational the redesigned energy and power department and restructuring its electric inspectorate.
“We could not finance the three projects from the EPDF because these were not directly development or energy related,” said an official, explaining the reasons for the department pressing to include these three projects in the ADP.
The official said the government was facing a financial shortfall and thus struggling. “Departments are fighting to get funds for their projects,” he added.
A senior official of the energy department said they were told to use the EPDF because money in ADP or EPDF both belonged to the K-P government. “Our projects are lengthy and take up to five years to complete. The government says we should use the EPDF for our projects in which we have Rs32 billion rather than asking for funds from the ADP.” The official claimed they were also offered money from pension funds available with the provincial government at lower markup rates than banks.
The official was convinced the department would not need to borrow money, but was unhappy with the government using development funds for non-energy projects and avoiding power generating schemes.
“In this budget, the current government will focus on such schemes which can be completed in a year or two. Obviously, they have another budget in hand, but this one is more crucial to make such which will more visible and easier to highlight come general elections,” said the official.
An official of the P&D department said borrowing money from the pensions could also benefit the energy department because the markup will be small.