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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister/Privatisation Commission Chairman Abid Hussain Bhayo chaired the first Privatisation Commission (PC) Board meeting after assuming the charge as a chairman PC. Federal Secretary Dr. Iram A Khan, Board members and senior officials of the Ministry attended the important meeting.

Matters relating to Jinnah Convention Center (JCC), Sindh Engineering Limited (SEL), Pakistan Engineering Co (PECO), federal government properties and Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) were discussed in detail.

The Board members proposed that the privatisation of PECO, SEL and sale of remaining 16 properties of federal government should be halted on account of inherent issues faced by these entities. The Board emphasized that it was doing everything in its power to expedite the privatisation process but had not received requisite support from the other concerned ministries/Divisions to resolve the issues faced by these entities.

The PC Board was briefed about the current status with regard to the privatisation of Jinnah Convention Center (JCC). The Board was informed that the transaction was halted on account of reservations shown by some, who disagreed with the transaction structure approved for it.

The Federal Minister for Privatisation recently held a detailed meeting to sort out the matter with CDA chairman and it was mutually agreed that the Privatisation Commission in liaison with CDA would devise a viable layout plan for JCC and also, PC shall revise transaction structure in consultation with CDA. The PC Board members endorsed the proposals and also recommended that the matter should be placed before CCoP.

PC reopens SIH sell-off transaction

The Board was apprised about the current status of National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL) transaction which is one of the major SOEs on active privatisation list. The Chairman PC stressed that the government is committed to inviting much-needed private sector investment and expertise in power sector.

The CCoP in its meeting held in June 2022 had constituted a sub-committee of stakeholders (Power, PC, NPPMCL & Finance) for the early resolution of matters in realization of the transaction of NPPMCL. The smooth flow of transaction was greatly impacted by the pandemic in 2020, when 12 parties were pre-qualified from across the globe including Middle East, China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Europe and Pakistan.

The PC Board unanimously approved the proposal for expediting the transaction related matters of NPPMCL up to its successful closure.

The PC Board’s approval was sought about strategy to resolve different issues of Sindh Engineering Limited (SEL) and Pakistan Engineering Company (PECO) which have blocked their privatisation. It was briefed that the constitution of SEL Board and appointment of a permanent MD will enable the implementation of necessary decisions with regard to its privatisation. The Board members proposed that the matter may be placed before CCoP in its upcoming meeting.

The Board was also apprised about the overall progress of the privatisation of SOEs, including PSM and HBFCL. The privatisation of PSM has come to a very advanced stage with the onsite visit and buyer side due diligence from the pre-qualified investors.

The potential investors had spent two weeks in Pakistan, meeting senior government officials in Karachi and Islamabad as well as visiting the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) Karachi. The Board members showed their appreciation for the progress made in the HBFCL privatisation and hoped that the process will be completed soon.

Federal Minister/Privati-sation Commission Chairman Abid Hussain Bhayo said the government of Pakistan is committed to bringing out the economy from the difficult situation focusing on the betterment of common folks. He further said the government was working in earnest to bring major reforms in energy, agriculture and real estate sectors through hefty investment from Pakistan and abroad.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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