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ISLAMABAD: Despite getting a huge sum of Rs 4.84 billion donations from both national and international donors to combat Covid-19 pandemic, the federal government on Monday informed National Assembly that it did not release a single penny to four provinces including Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

In a written reply to a question asked by MNA Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, the minister in-charge of poverty alleviation and social safety division, told National Assembly that federal government received over Rs4.84 billion donations of which, the overseas Pakistanis contributed an amount of Rs1.06 billion.

However, the house was informed that 'the total amount of Rs4.84 billion is still available [with the government] as no fund has been utilised'.

"The fund provided from the masses with the country for Covid-19 relief activities is over Rs3.78 billion," said the data submitted to NA.

It is pertinent to mention here that Prime Minister Imran Khan in April this year urged the nation to generously donate in the PM's Covid-19 Pandemic Relief Fund-2020 set up to fight the coronavirus.

In response to a question, the Aviation Division, in a written reply, told the house that the yearly income from hotel is: $2.447 million (2017), $3.164 million (2018), and $1.495 million (2019).

About selling off/leasing of the hotel, the Aviation Division said that there is no truth in it', however, it did say that Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) in its meeting held on 31st October, 2018, directed Aviation Division to make a detailed presentation on the possibility of construction of high-rise hotels on the land of Roosevelt Hotel, New York on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis.

"So the PIA-IL engaged the services of M/s Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP to conduct the feasibility study. M/s Deloitte in its draft report dated 18th July, 2019, after analysing multiple options recommended that the highest and best use of the Roosevelt Hotel property is to redevelop the site into a mixed use of primarily office tower over retail and condominium," said the Division in a written reply.

It further said that 'accordingly, Cabinet in its meeting held on 7th July, 2020, directed the Privatisation Commission (PC) to initiate the process of appointment of financial advisor to undertake the envisaged leasing of Roosevelt site for setting up a Joint Venture (JV) project for prospective mixed use development through the best suited mode of Privatisation, as delineated in the Privatisation Commission Ordinance, 2000'.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020