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ISLAMABAD: The federal government has budgeted to generate Rs252 billion from privatisation proceeds in financial year 2021-22, which is 152 percent higher than a target of Rs100 billion set for the current financial year 2020-21.

The budget document 2021-22 has envisaged Rs252 billion to finance fiscal deficit in the next year's financial budget.

The Privatisation Commission (PC) is expected to generate Rs300 billion from the privatisation proceeds of only two RLNG power plants-Haveli Bahadur Shah and Balloki power plants.

The government has assured the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the privatisation of two RLNG power plants will likely to be completed by the end of February 2022.

In October 2018, the PTI government decided to reduce the active list of privatisation from 65 to only 11 entities - almost all profitable ones.

Later on, when Hafeez Shaikh joined the federal cabinet as the finance adviser, he expanded the list to 19 entities.

The IMF report for second, third, fourth, and fifth reviews prepared by a staff team of the Fund for the Executive Board's consideration acknowledged that no planned privatisation of state-owned entities (SOEs) could take place due to heightened uncertainty.

The Privatisation Commission has set a new deadline for the privatisation of the PSEs.

The privatisation of two small public banks - SME Bank and the First Women Bank are expected to complete by end December 2021.

The government is also assessing options to divest the 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 the DISCOs governance, the process of appointing board members and chief executive officers (CEOs) in all the DISCOs under competitive and transparent procedures has been initiated as well as also exploring options for their phased privatisation.

On several occasions, the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) chaired by the finance minister directed the Privatisation Commission to expedite the pace of work on privatisation.

During out-going financial year, the PC sold 23 out of 26 properties through open bidding. Out of 23 sold properties,Rs920 million was deposited against 10 properties, while the earnest money for the rest 13 properties was forfeited on account of the failure of the successful bidders to deposit the requisite amount.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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