ISLAMABAD

The government on Wednesday opposed the recommendation of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) that foreign companies should take national security clearance certificate before going into the privatisation process of the public sector entities of the country.

Following the concerns of the government on the recommendation, the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue did not approve the amendment proposed by PPP’s Senator Syeda Sugra Imam. Senator Sughra Imam of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party suggested that government should make it mandatory for the foreign companies to take security clearance before entering into privatisation deal.

However, the government and other political parties including ANP and MQM opposed the amendment. Minister of State for Privatisation Commission Mohammad Zubair informed the committee that privatisation process would consume lot of time if we involve security agencies in giving clearance to the foreign companies. Therefore, the committee did not approve this amendment proposed in “The Privatisation Commission (Amendment) Bill 2014’, presented by Senator Syeda Sugra Imam. Meanwhile, the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, which met under the chair of Senator Nasreen Jalil, has discussed the Privatisation Commission (Amendment) bill, 2014 presented by Senator Syeda Sugra Imam. The committee after holding several meetings on the bill has approved it. The committee approved one of the proposed amendments of the bill rejecting other three. The committee approved the amendment of the post audit of privatisation transaction of any public sector entity by Auditor General of Pakistan and private audit company. “It will be mandatory for the post audit of privatisation transaction of any public sector entities by the end of the fiscal year”, Senator Syeda Sugra Imam told The Nation. Auditor General of Pakistan as well as private audit company could carry out the audit. She further said that aforesaid amendment has been introduced for the greater transparency.

Senator Syeda Sugra Imam informed that committee also rejected the proposed amendment of enhancing the time period for investigating the privatisation transaction from one to three years. The ruling PML-N ANP and MQM opposed the amendment. The Committee also rejected the proposed amendment of ensuring that the natural resources can only be privatised through granting operational rights for a certain period of time and not through granting ownership rights and that the proceeds of privatisation will only be used for debt retirement and not for general budget expenditure or investment. The government has informed that this matter is in Supreme Court of Pakistan.