ISLAMABAD                    -             The Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) on Tuesday allowed open auction bidding for 27 land assets owned by federal government entities at total reserve price of Rs6.62 billion.

The CCoP has taken the decision to sell government-owned unproductive properties through an open auction in pursuance of a federal cabinet decision to dispose of unproductive state lands and assets. The decision was taken at a meeting of the CCoP held with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the chair.

Earlier, the CCoP discussed the issue in detail and approved the recommendations of the Transaction Committee, Inter-Ministerial Committee and Privatisation Commission Board for an open auction bidding procedure and total reserve price of Rs6.62 billion for 27 properties belonging to different federal government divisions and entities. Only one property is estimated at the value of over Rs5 billion by the financial advisers while the value of the rest of the 26 properties is Rs1.7 billion.

The CCoP was further told by the Privatisation Commission that the bidding process for the 27 properties was likely to be completed by the end of April 2020. Secretary Privatization Rizwan Malik recently informed the media that government had already held road shows for investors. “Foreign investors from Dubai and Qatar and overseas Pakistanis had expressed interest in buying these properties,” Secretary Privatization said.

The incumbent government is working on privatization programme. Apart from selling 27 government-owned unproductive properties, the government has also planned to complete privatization of six Public Sector Entities (PSEs) within current fiscal year, before June 30, 2020. The PSEs included, SMEs Bank, First Women Bank, two RLNG power plants including Haveli Bhadar Shah and Balloki, government’s 18.5 percent shares in Mari Petroleum Company Limited as well as Services International Hotel Lahore and Jinnah Convention Centre Islamabad.

Privatization of these 6 public sector entities and selling 27 government owned properties will generate around Rs400 billion before June 2020, which is far higher than the budget estimates of Rs150 billion that government projected in annual budget. Only privatization of two power plants located at Balloki and Haveli Bahadur Shah, would generate a minimum of Rs300 billion or $1.5 billion in non-tax revenue.