The cash-starved government is optimistic to generate minimum Rs 300 billion through privatising 27 public sector entities (PSEs), including Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), during ongoing financial year 2014-2015.

The incumbent government would expedite the process of privatising the public sector entities during ongoing financial year 2014-2015, as it would privatize as many as 27 PSEs in one year. “We will try our level best to achieve the ambitious privatisation target set for the present fiscal year, as government had completed maximum work in this regard”, Muhammad Zubair, Minister of State for Privatization, informed The Nation on Thursday. He further informed that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar had approved the plan of privatising 27 entities during FY2014-2015.

The minister informed that government would generate at least Rs 300 billion through privatization programme during FY2014-2015, and this amount is far above the Finance Ministry’s estimates of Rs 198 billion that are projected from privatization programme in the budget 2014-2015.

The government is vigorously working on privatization programme, he said and added, “The Privatisation Commission (PC) Board, which is scheduled to meet on July 21, will accord its approval to the appointment of financial advisor for restructuring and strategic privatization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Faisalabad Electric Supply Company Limited and National Power Construction Corporation”.

Mohammad Zubari informed that government would complete the privatization of OGDCL and Heavy Electrical Complex by September 2014 and National Power Construction Corporation by December or January. “The government had completed transaction of United Bank Limited and Pakistan Petroleum Limited in just three months period. Therefore, the government can complete its target set for the current financial year”, he maintained.

Talking about the privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills, the Minister said, “The privatization of PSM has two parts, as first we will restructure it and will go for its privatization when its production capacity enhances to 40 per cent, which will be done by September or October this year”.  The PML-N government, after assuming the charge, had decided to privatize 68 PSEs in its five years constitutional tenure. The Privatization Commission had disinvested the shares of United Bank Limited (UBL) and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) in previous financial year 2013-2014. The government generated $387 million from UBL and Rs 15.3 billion from PPL transaction.

The government would face stiff political pressure when it goes for privatization of PIA and PSM.

According to the documents of Privatization Commission, the following of the PSEs would be privatized this year: Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), Allied Bank of Pakistan (ABL), Habib Bank Limited (HBL), State Life Insurance Corporation, Pak Arab Refinery Limited, Mari Petroleum Limited and Government holding (Pvt.) Limited. Meanwhile, the government would privatize Heavy Electrical Complex, National Power Construction Corporation, Northern Power Generation Company Limited, Faisalabad Electric Supply Company Limited, Lahore Electric Supply Company Limited, Islamabad Electric Supply Company Limited, PIA IL (Roosevelt and Scribe hotels) and Convention Center Islamabad.

Similarly, the government would privatize Gujranwala Electric Supply Company Limited, Hyderabad Electric Supply Company Limited, Multan Electric Power Company Limited, Sukhar Electric Supply Company Limited, Quetta Electric Supply Company Limited, Peshawar Electric Supply Company Limited, Jamshoro Power Company Limited, Central Power Generation Company Limited and Lakhra Power Generation Company Limited during ongoing financial year 2014-2015.