EGI Tajikistan recently released Electricity Governance Tajikistan: Applying the EGI Indicator Toolkit to Tajikistan. The report details the preliminary findings and recommendations of the electricity governance assessment of transparency, accountability and public participation in Tajikistan’s electricity sector. The EGI Tajikistan working group used a subset of 32 indicators from the EGI toolkit to assess the governance strengths and weaknesses of legislative, executive and regulatory processes.
On the one hand, the working group found that there are no formal barriers to obtaining key documents or to public access to policy and regulatory decision-making processes. At the same time, there is no legal framework to facilitate public scrutiny and involvement, nor practical mechanisms to place information in the public domain. In practice, the lack of formal procedures makes meaningful public debate or oversight of the sector all but impossible.
The assessment focuses particularly on regulatory structures and tariff making. The indicators suggest that the fragmentation of regulatory responsibilities over several ministries makes for weak accountability, and further that the ministries themselves have little authority over important decisions. This lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities means that locating key documents becomes an uncertain process at best.
The paucity of information in the public domain is of particular concern with respect to the schedule of tariff increases that the Tajik government has announced. The research team found no publicly available documents that provided substantive criteria for setting tariffs, including utility financial figures, demand projections, or energy efficiency targets.
The assessment recommends the formation of a multi-stakeholder coordination agency under the President. Recommendations that could be discussed in this format include:
- Improved transparency of the legislative committee dealing with energy
- Better defined legal authorities of bodies charged with regulatory functions
- Clarity of principles guiding the tariff setting process
- Improved process for public access to documents upon which tariff and other regulatory decisions are made
- Transparency of donor activity in the sector
- Legal framework for public participation in decision making processes