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ISLAMABAD: An inter-ministerial committee has directed Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to undertake competition studies on LNG, financial and power sectors aimed at strengthening the public investment management system, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

The decision was taken at a follow up meeting presided over by Additional Secretary Finance (Corporate Finance) convened to discuss Action Plan recommended by IMF’s PIMA (Public investment Management Assessment) held under the SF(CF).

The Competition Commission of Pakistan briefed on state of competition in LNG/ LPG and transport infrastructure sectors. CCP shared the findings on regulatory and infrastructural barriers to entry of new businesses in these SOE-dominant sectors.

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ASF (CF) remarked that in addition to updating of these reports, similar competition studies in other priority sectors including power and finance were fundamental to developing the Action Plan recommended by the PIMA report. He further added the studies must suggest regulatory reforms to improve competition in the said markets.

CCP conveyed that Maryam Zafar, Executive Joint Director (Research) shall be their Focal Person for the said reports. CCP also suggested that the timely completion of the task required technical assistance of sectoral experts.

The meeting accordingly decided the following; (i) CCP shall update competition studies on LNG and transport infrastructure sectors; and prepare similar studies on financial and power sectors; (ii) Finance Division shall constitute Sectoral Working Groups with representatives from all concerned agencies; (iii) Finance Division shall coordinate with CCP, PD&SI and other concerned agencies for sourcing sectoral experts and for other allied issues and; (iv) ToRs for the competition reports shall be finalised once the Working Groups are formed.

On the request of Government of Pakistan (GoP) IMF mission visited Pakistan and had meetings with different stakeholders from March 14, 2023 to March 28, 2023 to assess the public investment management system. The mission shared the Technical Report on Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA).

The PIMA report, inter-alia, recommended implementing SOE Triage Report 2021 through following actions suggested: (i) preparing a report on state of competition in key markets of finance infrastructure, communication, oil and gas and power where there is significant SOE presence; (ii) preparing a medium-term Action Plan for reform/ restructuring/ privatisation of SOEs; (iii) preparing a funding strategy for effective implementation of the Plan; and (iv) implementing the reform plan.

The sources said, required actions are as follows: (i) develop an integrated and long-term national PPP strategy policy, consolidate a Public Private Partnership (PPP) register across federal and provincial governments covering all sectors including completed and pipeline PPPs and put in place procedures for periodic reporting on the status of PPPs in execution; (ii) prepare a report on the effectiveness of competition in areas of key economic infrastructure in which there is significant SOEs presence, with suggested reform measures to foster competition in these sectors, taking into account any already ongoing privatisation and reform efforts in these sectors; (iii) approve the medium-term action plan, including a funding strategy for its effective implementation; and (iv) implement regulatory and economic reforms.

The action also included that after stakeholder consultation, prepare a medium-term action plan based on the report that includes: (i) complementary regulator, institutional and economic reforms; (ii) privatisation of strategic partnership program for SOEs and ;(iii) restructuring and liquidation program of SOEs.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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