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EAC underscores need for speeding up sell-off process

  • Stresses need to complete transaction of LNG-based power plants in current financial year
Updated 04 Jul 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Advisory Council (EAC) underscored on Saturday the need for speeding up the privatisation process in a smooth and timely manner, and completing the transaction of LNG-based power plants in the current financial year.

This was revealed by one of the participants of the EAC meeting, while talking to Business Recorder. Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin, chaired the third meeting of the EAC held here on Saturday.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar, Federal Minister for Privatisation Muhammad MianSoomro, and Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam. Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood, Secretary Finance, Secretary Privatisation, and Deputy Governor SBP attended the meeting.

Private members, Sultan Ali Allana, Farooq Rehmatullah, and Zaid Bashir also participated in the meeting. The finance minister stressed the importance of long-term planning for achieving sustainable and all-inclusive economic growth.

The prime minister has re-constituted the EAC after decades with an objective to draw up concrete proposals for sustainable economic growth through comprehensive and seamless planning across major sectors by taking all stakeholders on board. The underlying rationale is to secure the future of coming generations in the country, the finance minister added.

During the third meeting of the EAC, four sub-groups made respective presentations. The sub-groups gave their presentations on topics namely SOEs and privatisation, energy, domestic commerce, and price stability.

SAPM on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood Khan gave a detailed presentation on price stability, which included short-term, medium-term and long-term proposals for bringing price stability in the country. The SAPM on F&R drew a comparative analysis between prices prevailing in Pakistan and also in the entire region both from current and historical perspectives.

Sources revealed that Dr Khan also recommended storage and improving monitoring of wholesale and retailers to bring price stability. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam and Federal Minister for Industries for Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar also gave their input on the topic.

Sultan Ali Allana made a presentation on State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). The secretary privatisation updated the EAC on privatisation. The presentation emphasised the importance of continued review of the SOEs’ portfolio and also highlighted steps for better management of SOEs.

The presentation included short-term, medium-term and long-term strategies for better management of the state-owned enterprises (in phases). The presentation further included measures to speed up the privatisation process in a smooth and timely manner.

Sources revealed to Business Recorder that the EAC directed the Privatisation Commission for improving the units to be privatised that their market value may be increased. Sources said that the privatisation of short-listed LNG-based power plants to be completed in the current financial year.

Farooq Rehmatullah gave presentation on Energy (Power) sector. The presentation highlighted global, regional and local trends in the refining sectors. The presentation also included recommendations for bringing in sustainable solutions to streamline operations from oil downstream to marketing sectors.

Farooq Rehmatullah, during his presentation, gave suggestions to deal with the challenges faced by LPG, exploration and production sectors, and to explore renewable energy resources in Pakistan. A participant of the meeting underscored the need for additional LNG import and construction of LNG terminal to meet the requirements.

Zaid Bashir made a presentation on domestic commerce sector. The presentation underlined to enrich and revive the documented/integrated sectors and fully realise the true potential of e-commerce during the short-term by bringing retailers into a more organised environment, increasing, ultimately, contribution to the national exchequer.

Tax credit on enlistment of companies and to incentivise the induction of women in workforce were suggested as part of medium-term plans, whereas, financing facility for growth of the retailers and tax adjustability were suggested as part of a long-term strategy for promoting domestic commerce sector in the country.

All the participants held an in-depth discussion on proposals presented during the meeting and shared their valuable input. A follow-up session would be held soon.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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