With immaculate leadership style and vision, Mr Dagha is all set with his plans to bring back affordable electricity to Pakistan in coming years…
Mr Mohammad Younus Dagha, born on 23rd April 1962, is a career Civil Servant having joined in 1985 with a varied experience in the fields of Energy, Finance and Public Administration. His qualifications as Masters in Business Administration, Masters in Economics and Bachelor degrees in Laws and Commerce provided him with the required academic background to handle the multifarious assignments in his career.
Having successfully completed many challenging field assignments in the Provinces of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as Administrator at various levels, as Project Director in mega projects and on secretariat and staff positions, Mr Dagha was assigned the challenge of turning the key to the country’s unutilised energy treasure in Thar Coalfields. This immense natural resource has a potential of 175 billion tons of lignite coal, which till then had become a monumental failure and a grossly misunderstood phenomenon both at the policy level and amongst the industry players.
Mr Dagha conceived and executed a plan to bring back the local and international investors’ interest in the development of Thar coalfield and also assisted the Federal and Provincial governments to provide an effective policy and institutional framework to support this challenging task. Starting from there in 2008 and providing his support all these years in his various capacities, Mr Dagha is now providing the policy support to the three projects in Thar. One of these projects has achieved its financial close under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and now getting into physical execution with two other projects completing their financial spadework. The JV between the GoSindh and Engro, known as Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company is now set to become the largest Public Private Partnership Company in Pakistan, was conceived by Mr Dagha as Secretary Coal and Energy in Government of Sindh.
As Secretary Investment in Sindh, Mr Dagha also facilitated numerous Wind Energy projects in Jhampir-Gharo Wind Corridor which are now fast reaching their execution stage. Similarly, during his stay in Gilgit-Baltistan as Chief Secretary, he played a vital role in facilitating land acquisition and resettlement process which is in final stages now.
Mr Younus Dagha joined as Federal Secretary in the Ministry of Water and Power on 17th Oct 2014, when the Power sector was facing multiple crises. Power outages, especially in the Industrial sector, were harming the economy and causing frequent riots. The intercorporate (circular) debt in power sector was rising with a pace of Rs. 14.5 billion every month. The generations at power plants were retarded due to interruptions in fuel supplies caused by drying cash flows. No new investments were forthcoming in the power sector due to serious doubts about the capacity of the sector to pay.
The ensuing year 2015 became a game changer for the power sector, which benefitted from the better management and monitoring brought in by the new Secretary. The new management not only helped the sector take full advantage of the falling oil prices but also multiplied it with better financial and operational controls. The investors in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and many others were provided with the required policy incentives and facilitation to ensure timely initiation of the new generation and transmission projects.
The result was that 2015 became the best performance year for the power sector not only in the history of the country but in the entire region. The fall of AT&C losses by 5.8% in a single year is unheard of in the history of power sector reforms in any country. This benefit of Rs. 61 billion was further accentuated by merit order generation enforced by Mr Dagha which contributed another Rs. 57.6 billion. With the oil price reduction, benefits of Rs. 151 billion were passed on to the power sector consumers during 2015 in the form of monthly Fuel Price Adjustments. The improved cash flows allowed the Circular debt to be capped at the level of Oct 2014, i.e. Rs. 320 billion. The generation which in earlier years hovered at 15,000 MWs rose to around 17,000 MWs in 2015. Apart from these few indicators of the sector’s performance, a record number of projects with a cumulative capacity of 12113 MWs were facilitated which is more than all the IPPs capacity facilitated in the entire history, put together.
Apart from this, Mr Dagha’s tenure in the Finance Ministry as Special Assistant to FM and Additional Secretary (External Finance) provided him with the insight into the working of the International Financial Institutions.
Luminary: How do you look at the current situation of energy in Pakistan? How long will it take to get out of our energy crises are we planning and heading in right direction?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: We should be able to keep to the timelines and achieve them and we are expecting to end electricity shortages by the end of 2017. It is now accepted internationally that Pakistan’s power sector has come out of its worst financial crisis, from posting a loss to the national budget of Rs200bn to now a negligible Rs8 bn per annum. The power sector’s performance has brought savings of Rs400 bn in the past two years. On the operations side, the power sector has come a long way from a routine of 12-15 hours of industrial and domestic load-shedding, often unscheduled just a few years back, to now zero load-shedding for industries from last two years and a scheduled predictable load-shedding of three hours in urban and four hours in rural areas, as per the new schedule.
We are on course to increase generation by 8,000MW this year and plug a 6,000MW deficit. Inshallah 2018 will be a load-shedding-free year and we are looking forward to the elimination of load shedding. We are happily reporting that recent development is comprehensively changed as compared to the past.We are on the track of economic growth.
Luminary: What are your biggest achievements to date?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: We have been working for the last many years on all these projects and now Alhamdulillah, we are reaping the fruits of our efforts we have a completed a lot of projects in renewable.
The projects like Jhimpir-Gharo wind corridor of Sindh. Renewables are fast increasing their share in the power mix from 100 MWs in 2013 to now more than 1100 MWs (600 Wind, 400 Solar and 135 Biomass) and set to reach 3000 MWs by 2018. Tariff, on the other hand, has been brought down from Rs. 15 to 17/KwH in 2013 to now around Rs. 6-7/unit.
With dedication and consistent effort, Guddu becomes the largest Thermal Power Complex in Pakistan, at 1650 MWs rising from the low performance at 500 MWs. This is an example of a turnaround for sick Public Sector entities.
Talking about other projects which we are taking on fast track three LNG-based power plants with a cumulative capacity of approximately 3,600MW are being built in the public sector at Bhikki, Balloki and Haveli Bahadur Shah in Punjab. They will consume imported LNG as fuel for power generation and help ease the shortfall.These LNG-based plants have been tasked to achieve 2400 MW by Sept 2017 and full 3600 MW by Jan 2018. Three gas turbines have already reached the site and three more to reach by April 2017. Work on installation, testing and grid connection going on at full speed; day and night to match very tough timelines, which will be achieved InshaAllah.
In addition to these, another 5,000MW non-CPEC projects will be ready by 2018. However, under the CPEC framework agreement, Pakistan and China had agreed that different projects of 8,810MW would start running in 2017 and 2018.
Two of these projects in Sahiwal and Port Qasim will be completing their installation phase soon and will start generating in June and December 2017. Alhumdolillah, Sahiwal Coal Power Plant of 1320 MWs connected to National Grid (500 KVA Transmission Line) and all set to generate millions of jobs as well for our nation. After testing and synchronisation, the plant is expected to generate full capacity (1320 MWs) by June/July 2017, InshaAllah.
Thar Coalfield, vital to achieving energy security for the country, has three mining and power projects in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Each of the three projects has 7.6 metric tons per annum mining capacity and 1320 MWs power generation. So around 3960 MWs will come into the system between 2018 and 2020, to be followed by more, InshaAllah. Except for the earlier 1320 MWs which is on sub-critical technology, rest of the capacity will be on super-critical technology which has minimum impact on the environment. Ministry convinced two sponsors with projects of 990 MWs at Port Qasim to convert their projects from Imported Coal to Thar Coal. They will also add to the generating capacity on indigenous resources reducing reliance on imported fuels.
Now we are having an equal focus on clean hydel energy. While base load throughout the year comes from thermals, hydels are ideally suited for our summer peak demands. Some 12,000 MWs of hydel projects are under execution, expected to complete between 2017 and 2023. This large chunk of cheap energy will reduce our basket price. We have done a lot of work in past 2-3 years it’s a big achievement for the country in such a short time we will be increasing our generation we have achieved 17000 MW last year and will reach 25000 MW in 2018
Luminary: What are your long-term goals for power generation? Don’t you believe that production through furnace oil and coal is not the right solution focusing on hydro generation suits us best?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: You are right. The first phase of our policy is to achieve the availability of electricity and to remove the deficit. The first target is availability which we will achieve in beginning of 2018. The second target is affordability and security. So we can avoid costlier generation and lead towards indigenous generation. After 2018, we will be moving more towards Thar coal and hydel generation our natural sources and as well from the wind, solar and Baggase power. So we will be moving towards the indigenous sources of and away from the imported fuels but currently, we are working with a mix of both. So after 2018 once we complete the availability then we will be working on affordability security bringing the electricity on affordability cost and reducing reliance on imported oil.
Luminary: We have recently heard about some logistic issues you are having in terms of managing logistics for coal power plants?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: There is only one project on imported coal which is up to the country and where the logistic of the railway would be involved. Otherwise, all the projects will not involve many inland logistics. Because one project is coming on Port Qasim and the other once is coming HUB which is HUBCO and another project is coming which will be the future of coal energy and that is Thar which will be based on local coal where there will be no logistics involved on a longer distance.
Luminary: Where do you Pakistan in terms of managing its energy crises in next five years? Would the government be able to manage and produce cheaper electricity for our consumers both commercial and non-commercial?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: In next five years we will be increasing the capacity by 50,000MW inshallah in 2022 and 2023 we are targeting to achieve 50,000 MW and we will be good surplus with us and generate from cheaper sources inshallah.
Luminary: The higher cost of electricity has affected badly to the cost industrial production and cost and how you are managing that since our industry is having competition from Bangladesh and India china?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: We need to do two things one we need to get rid of furnace oil based electricity and a constraint in moving towards reducing electricity cost which was wrong policy in the 1990s and early 2000 when we contracted a lot of electricity on imported oil and it was a bad policy we are suffering because of that bad policy and stuck with high cost of production. But as we move forward and we bring in hydro and local coal production we will be able to reduce the cost of production.
Luminary: How do you see the role of CPEC in Pakistan with reference to its impact on energy situation good or bad? How do you manage conflicts in the workplace and to model solutions for complex multidimensional problems?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: CPEC is the game changer for Pakistan, and especially for the energy sector. Because the Chinese investment in coal projects provide the kind of investment which we were looking towards all over the world and we were not able to master that much of investment interest. Now once the Chinese have started taking interest in our projects the entire world is looking towards Pakistan. We should be grateful to our Chinese friends who have been able to take us ahead for achieving our targets in generation from our local resources like THAR coal and will lead to cheaper electricity
Luminary: Every year Pakistan faces flood situations hence leading to a huge loss, how you look at this? Do we have sufficient capacity in terms of dams and reservoirs to store and utilise this water properly for agriculture and power generation rather than leading to floods?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: You would be happy to know Pakistan which had been lacking behind so many years we were not able to work on our natural reservoirs. But now the federal government in a meeting of cabinet committee on energy where Prime minister took the decision that we will start the DIAMER BHASHA dam the dam part of the project will be funded from our own resources from PSDP funding and we are planning to do the groundbreaking completed by the end of 2017. So this is a big target for us. As soon as we are getting out of electricity crises, we will address the future challenges of water.
Luminary: Pakistan has a quite a challenging regional location along with ongoing issues with our neighbouring country India. Are we ready for the unforeseen future challenges of water?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: Diamer Bhasha Dam is a good project. It will be a big target for us. It will save us more than 8 million acre feet of water and that will help Pakistan mitigating its challenges regarding water in coming years.
Luminary: What do you do to live a balanced life?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: Nobody is happy about it though the national task means to us they don’t have enough time with me but they do realise the importance of this National task and they do support me altogether.
Luminary: What’s the toughest decision you ever made? What did you learn from that one?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: I have always been facing very challenging task throughout my life and career but alhamdulillah when you have good intentions and you are ready to put in hard work God Almighty always help you in achieving your targets.
Luminary: What are Pakistan’s biggest challenges?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: I think the biggest challenge for Pakistan in coming years to improve the quality of human resource so it can become a competitive human resource and lead us to become a more competitive nation able to achieve our potential through the quality human resource.
Luminary: What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time? to the younger generation of CEOs, managers, startups, entrepreneurs and business leaders?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: my message to young leaders of future is that they should never aim low. They should accept the challenges and go for the impossible tasks. This will help them to know what real ability they possess. The sky is the limit.
Luminary: what are your future plans?
Mohammad Younus Dagha: I am not a very ambitious person I am ready for any task given to me.