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ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided in principle to establish Federal Government Properties Management Authority (FGPMA) aimed at dealing with the affairs of all government land and properties across the country under one organisation.

Well informed sources in Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives Division revealed that the federal government owns a vast tract of urban and rural property throughout the length and breadth of the country. These fixed assets are owned, operated and managed by the federal ministries, divisions and organizations under their control.

According to sources, many of these lands had gained in value over time due to expansion of urban areas and growth of commercial activities. However, most of government entities had not been able to manage these assets optimally. In fact, these were beset with multiple problems like encroachments, illegal occupation, etc. Despite government directions, most of the government assets were not being utilized in an economically viable manner.

Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives notes that there had been several unsuccessful attempts in the past to make use of some of the assets for generating economic returns through sale, privatization, public private partnership, and lease, etc. However, there had been little success due to a variety of reasons.

“Managing assets, especially land, was a specialized function. None of the existing government organizations had the exclusive mandate and capacity to perform this function in a manner where these assets generate valuable returns for the economy,” the sources said, adding that such functions were required to be performed by a dedicated professional agency / organization.

The Federal Cabinet, on a presentation made by CEO, Central Business District Project (CBDA), Govt of Punjab, and directed the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives to place the summary for establishment of such an organization i.e., National Asset Management Authority (NAMA) before the Cabinet in its decision of April 13, 2021.

However, due to possible confusion with another proposed agency under FATF, the name for the organization was proposed as ‘Federal Government Properties Management Authority’ (FGPMA).

The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, therefore, proposed that a new organization, FGPMA may be established to own, manage and operate properties of the Federal Government. FGPMA should have necessary wherewithal along with legal powers and authority to develop assets transferred to it through various modes including sale, lease, PPP, etc. to ensure best value for money of the government assets. The Authority would be required to develop a business plan and report back to the Federal Government on a regular basis.

The sources maintained that various iterations of the draft law for establishment of FGPMA had been carried out with stakeholders. The draft law has been duly vetted by the Ministry of Law & Justice. Views and comments on the vetted draft were sought from the Finance Division, followed by consultations with Ministry of Law & Justice, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Housing & Works and Establishment Division.

The sources said, the proposal of Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives has been approved in principle subject to further legislation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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