ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Wednesday deferred the approval of the State-Owned Enterprise Governance and Operation Bill 2021, seeking improvement in governance and operations of loss-making State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha informed the committee that these SOEs are a drain on the national resources. The law does not talk about the privatisation of the SOEs but about improving their governance and operations. Out of 200 companies, most of them had incurred losses and few are earning profits. There is a dire need to improve the performance of state-owned companies. The purpose of this law is to improve the monitoring of these companies.
“We are ready to respond to all queries of the members of the committee on the State Owned Enterprise Governance and Operation Bill, 2021,” she said.
In the committee, the issue of Governance and Operation of Government Institutions Bill 2022 was also discussed. The opposition members of the committee were of the view that this bill should be discussed and rejected, while the government members were of the opinion that there was no opportunity to prepare for the discussion on the bill, so it should be postponed to the next meeting.
Government companies are working, majority of which are running at a loss, and legislation is being brought to improve the efficiency of these companies.
This law has nothing to do with the privatisation of institutions.
Senator Sadia Abbasi said that the bill was passed without reading. It will not be done; the bill should be read by us first. If it is to be approved without reading, then the bill will be rejected. If this bill was brought on condition, then we do not accept it.
She said that we need details of the names, assets and board of directors of these SOEs for making recommendations on the law.
Senator Mohsin Aziz said that this law is a “loot sale” bill. Senator Farooq H Naek said that many government agencies were in a loss, adding five years of data should be given. The chairman committee postponed further consideration of the bill by majority vote until the next session.
Senator Aziz said that the country’s economy is in a very bad situation, after the agreement with the IMF, the rupee has weakened , and industries are being closed.
He said for the import of 10,000 dollars he himself has to request the governor SBP personally. He added that the company whose imports were $ 10 million is not being allowed to import even $10,000. The deputy governor State Bank, while briefing the committee said that the exchange companies exported $3.1 billion during 2021-22. One of the main sources of the exchange companies is the purchase of foreign exchange from individuals ($4.4 billion) and inward remittances ($2.3 billion) during the last fiscal year.
A substantial amount has been surrendered in the interbank market.
Around $4.2 billion was surrendered during the last fiscal year. The second is the sale of foreign currency to the individuals going aboard.
The exchange companies approached the central bank that they have a substantial amount of dollars in physical form. The exchange companies requested the SBP that either allow us to export dollars or direct any bank to purchase dollars from us.
Now the prior permission of the State Bank has been made mandatory for the export. If the situation is conducive we will allow export, otherwise not, he added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022