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ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Privatization was informed on Tuesday that the Sindh government has shown interest in buying Hyderabad and Sukkur Electric Power Supply Companies.

The meeting of the committee presided over by Shamim Afridi, while discussing the issue of privatization of power distribution companies, was informed that the matter of privatization of distribution companies will be referred to the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

Approval of the CCI would be solicited for transfer of ownership of DISCOs to the provincial government, he said and added that apart from Sindh no other provincial government has shown interest in buying discos.

The Senate Standing Committee on Privatization has raised questions on the process of approval to auction the old Chancery Building in Washington DC owned by Pakistan Embassy.

The committee was also given a briefing on the sale/auctioning of Chancery building in Washington DC and was informed that it was sold to Abdul Hafeez Khan, a Pakistani-American who offered the highest bid of $7.1 million.

The meeting was informed that not only the building was very old but a loan of $7 million was taken for its renovation and only appropriate option was to sell the property. The committee raised serious concerns on its approval without the consent and intervention of the Privatisation Commission.

The committee deferred the matter for further report and deliberations by the Foreign Ministry. After the committee was informed that the property of Convention Centre, Islamabad did not belong to the CDA and was the sole property of the Ministry of Interior, the committee directed that the Ministry of Interior be summoned to give a briefing on its privatisation.

The Ministry of Interior additional secretary briefed on the matter and stated that the privatisation of the Convention Centre is not an attractive option unless and until there is a structured alternative plan ready for its privatisation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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