ISLAMABAD: The government has assured the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that privatization of two RLNG power plants will likely to be completed by end of February financial year 2022.
The IMF report for second, third, fourth, and fifth reviews prepared by a staff team of the Fund for the Executive Board’s consideration on March 24, 2021 released Thursday acknowledged that no planned privatization of state owned entities (SOEs) could take place due to heightened uncertainty.
The government has set new deadline for the privatisation of SOEs. The IMF staff was informed that privatisation of two small public banks – SME bank and First Women Bank are expected to complete by end December 2021. The government is also assessing options to divest Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) non-core assets (two hotel properties-Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, and Sofitel Paris Scribe Hotel in Paris). For strengthening DISCOs governance, the process of appointing board members and chief executive officers (CEOs) in all DISCOs under competitive and transparent procedures has been initiated as well as also exploring options for their phased privatization. The government completed and published the audits of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) in January 2020 and July 2020 respectively scheduled for completion by end December 2019.
The strengthening of the monitoring of SOEs was completed, with support from the World Bank, and the government published a triage of SOEs in March 2021 against a deadline of end September 2020. The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) also completed a special audit of Pakistan Railroads in March 2020 based on financial year 2019-20 financials and published in November 2020. Another audit of the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) will be completed and published by end April 2021.
Building on IMF-provided technical assistance and in cooperation with international partners, the government prepared a new SOE law and submitted it to parliament in March 2021 against a deadline of end September 2020. The government is expecting it to be adopted by end-December 2021.
Amendments of four SOEs’ Acts will be submitted to parliament by end August 2021, which were chosen in November 2020 based on their debt levels to help ensure that the scope of the SOE law brings governance changes to statutory enterprises; and operationalise a Central Monitoring Unit (CMU) within the Ministry of Finance by end July 2021 to centralize SOE monitoring functions and provide better analysis at the aggregate level.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021