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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Privatization’s meeting was held on Thursday which took up privatisation issues including a briefing by the Ministry of Privatization in light of the meeting on the Cabinet Commission on Privatization (CCOP) on the Roosevelt, New York; SME Bank, and the Services International Hotel, Lahore, and Sukkur Electric Power Company (SEPCO).

Senator Shamim Afridi chaired the meeting.

Reviewing the privatisation status of the Roosevelt Hotel, the committee was informed that the government does not plan to put up the hotel for sale, but rather seeks a joint venture for prospective mixed use development as delineated in the PC Ordinance, 2000.

TORs have been sent to the Aviation Division that is pending due to a delay in the appointment of the financial advisor to key stakeholders that has been reinitiated by the Privatisation Commission.

Discussing the privatisation process of the SME Bank, Ltd, the committee was informed that the CCOP considered the summary dates 24th December 2022 submitted by the Ministry of Privatisation and approved recommendations of the PC-Board in its meeting held on 25th November 2022 regarding delisting of the SME Bank from the Privatization Program.

The Finance Division and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will take on the matter further. A report will be presented to the committee in the next meeting.

The committee recommended that the SME Bank may be attached with a reputed bank preferably NBP.

Regarding privatisation of the Services International Hotel, the committee was informed that the report of the sub-committee that was formed by the prime minister under the chairmanship of the Minister for Privatization with representatives from the Finance Division, Law and Justice Division, and the secretary Privatization Commission, was submitted to the CCOP.

Directions were given to re-submit the report after inputs from the Law and Justice Division regarding conformity of rules and regulations of the process. The matter is pending with the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Taking up the matter of the privatisation of the SEPCO, the committee was informed that nine DISCOs were part of the process including SEPCO.

The CCOP in a meeting held on 24th June 2022 directed the Power Division to write to all provinces through the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination(IPC) for negotiations in buying the concerned DISCOs by respective provinces. Sindh has already begun the process of talks with the Power Division for acquiring HESCO and SEPCO.

Senators Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah, Rana Mahmoodul Hassan, Anwar Lal Dean, Molvi Faiz Muhammad, and Umer Farooq, and senior officers of the Ministry of Privatization along with its attached departments and agencies attended the meeting. The meeting commenced with a review of the implementation status of recommendations made in previous meetings.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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