ISLAMABAD - The Privatization Commission (PC) has decided to start the auction of properties owned by the federal government from September 7, which earlier were halted due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.

The PC Board, which met under the chair of Federal Minister for Privatization Mohammed Mian Soomro, has decided to start the auction of state-owned properties. The Board considered the WAPDA-owned property in Swat, KPK; and finally decided to refer the matter to CCOP. Earlier, the auction of the federal government-owned 28 properties was scheduled to be carried out in April 2020. However, the auction was deferred due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in March this year.

The Board has noted that the PC is working on privatization of 19 Public Sector Entities (PSEs) simultaneously, the largest ever by the Ministry of Privatisation. It further noted that there is no denying the fact that the privatization process logically is time consuming as there are rules specified and gestation period for an entity to be privatized.In the meeting, various matters relating to Pakistan Steel Mills, status of hiring of Financial Advisory Consortium for Roosevelt Hotel, offloading of OGDCL and PPL shares, Guddu Power Plant and Sindh Engineering Limited were discussed.

The PC Board approved the transaction structure for the revival of Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation (PSMC) which has not been operational since June 2015. The PSMC was one of the premier state-owned enterprises which started its commercial operations in early eighties and had played a pivotal role in the economy of the country when it was fully operational. The transaction structure approval was agreed in principle. The transaction structure approved by the Board of Privatization Commission will be presented to the Cabinet Committee of Privatization (CCOP) for approval.

The terms of reference (TORs) for hiring of financial advisors (FAs) for Roosevelt Hotel, owned by PIA were also deliberated upon by the Board members. The PC Board also discussed divestment of up to 10% of government of Pakistan shares in the Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and up to 7% shares in OGDCL.

After extensive discussion on transaction fundamentals, market conditions and pros and cons of various options the Board decided to proceed for hiring of Financial Advisors Consortium (FAC) for divestment of 10% of GOP shares in PPL. Moreover, proposals from FAC will be obtained for documented as well as undocumented modes of transactions, the process for FAC hiring for OGDCL will commence once the hiring of FAC for PPL is completed.

The Federal Minister for Privatisation said, the Privatization Commission is fully geared up in achieving the objective of expediting the privatization of State-own enterprise to mitigate the drain of these enterprises on the government budget. This is the seventh transaction approved since the start of the privatization plans adopted in October 2018 and the Privatization Commission will be focusing to complete these transactions successfully along with other transactions which are currently in progress.

In another meeting, Federal Minister Privatisation ensured that long standing matters of KE are on right track to be settled with all stakeholders’ participation. The long standing matters were discussed and an inter-Ministerial committee under the chairmanship of the Minister for Privatisation was formed and a large numbers of meetings were held consistently and matters relating to deed of undertaking, deed of extinguishment and payables and receivables of  K-Electric were discussed and moving towards settlement.