ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Wednesday passed ‘The State Owned Enterprises (Governance and Operations) Bill, 2024’, aimed at authorising the federal government to remove a director or directors of a state-owned enterprise (SOE) based on their performance evaluation.

The bill moved by Minister for Law Azam Nazeer Tarar was passed amid protest by members of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) which also includes Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), with Leader of the Opposition Omar Ayub voicing dissent.

An amendment has been made in Section 10 sub-clause (2), recommending the removal of a director or directors to the federal government on the basis of evaluating the performance of such director or directors of a SOE.

PPP and SIC force govt to defer SOEs bill

A new sub-section (3-A) has also been added which states: “in carrying its functions, the board nomination committee shall evaluate the performance of a director or directors of a state-owned enterprise based on the objectives and principles laid down in chapters 2, 3 and 4 of this Act, to the extent applicable to a board of a state-owned enterprise.”

In its statement of objects and reasons, the bill states that the State Owned Enterprises (Governance and Operations) Act was promulgated in February 2023. It added that the Act, inter alia, provides for the matters relating to constitution of boards of directors of the SOEs.

It stated that there is a need to reconstitute the Boards of SOEs to better align them with the reform initiatives aimed at restructuring and transformation as well as privatization of certain entities. In order to achieve the objectives, it added that there is a need to strengthen the provisions for the removal of directors under this Act.

Speaking on the bill, the leader of the opposition raised objection that seven amendments were proposed in the bill but not a single amendment was shared with members of the finance committee, which approved the bill in its meeting on Wednesday. He also questioned the criterion under which a director of a specific SOE is appointed or removed, adding that the government did not provide any response in this regard which he condemned.

He said that the SIC four members in the committee submitted dissent notes, adding that his party opposes such a move which may promote nepotism. He pointed out that Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi had allowed import of wheat when he was chief minister Punjab.

Earlier, the chairman National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance Syed Naveed Qamar presented the report of the committee on the bill.

Meanwhile, the government also introduced The Pakistan Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2024, which is aimed at blocking the calls to give Pakistani nationality to thousands of Afghans who were born in Pakistan.

In the new proposed law, it has been recommended that Section 4 shall be omitted which is based “jus soli” principle also known as “right of the soil” which determines citizenship based on place of birth.

In its statement of object and reasons, the bill states that many countries including Britain and India have amended their Nationality Acts and no more follow the “jus soli” principle.

It added that as per the British National Act, a person in the United Kingdom shall be a British citizen if at the time of birth either of his parents is a British citizen; or is settled in the United Kingdom.

The bill introduced by the law minister was; however, referred to the committee concerned for further deliberations.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

Comments

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Armani Jul 11, 2024 08:22am
Jazz VolTE
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KU Jul 11, 2024 12:37pm
Doesn't make a miniscule difference, MPs are still delusional with all will be well as before, but not realizing that country cannot afford raj SOEs on Rs. 1.4 trillion loss or 'zakat' for them.
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