ISLAMABAD-The Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) is likely to meet next week to consider the long-awaited transaction structure of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and delisting some government-owned properties from the privatisation list.

The CCoP would meet under the chair of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. Earlier, the CCoP meeting was scheduled on October 23 but was postponed due to the demise of the mother of Minister for Privatisation, Muhammadmian Soomro. 

According to the report, the CCoP would consider transaction structure options: (i) transferring of identified core operating assets into wholly-owned subsidiary of PSMC through scheme of arrangement (as provided in the Companies Act 2017) followed by the sale of majority shares of the newly-formed subsidiary (without transferring of full ownership) to strategic private sector partner; OR (ii) transferring of identified core operating assets to private sector strategic partner through concession/lease agreement for 30 years.

The federal government had already decided to privatize Pakistan Steel Mills in order to revive the unit and steer it out of losses. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet had already approved Rs19.66 billion for golden handshake scheme for Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) employees. The Ministry of Industries and Production brought a summary on the retrenchment plan of PSM aligned with the legal framework of relevant labour laws. 

Employees of the PSM would receive Rs 2.3 million on average. The employees of Pakistan Steel Mills would be relieved in two phases with payment of their retirement dues and one month salary. According to the officials, 15 parties had shown their interest in Pakistan Steel Mills. 

Officials have informed that CCoP is likely to take the issue of delisting some government owned properties from the privatization list. The government owned 26 properties were specified for the open public auction and the process started on September 7th and culminated on 28th September 2020. Out of 26 properties, 23 were successfully auctioned with 1.113 billion PKR auction proceeds against the 1.011 billion reserved price. 

The matter regarding the future status of three unsold properties, (Republic Motors Lahore, Commerce Division’s land in Multan and land in RahimYar Khan owned by Aviation Division) would be placed before the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation for delisting or otherwise. 

The last property was the Wapda Rest House, KP. The auction had to be postponed as the provincial government requested to allot/ handover the property, hence the Privatisation Board members recommended that the subject property be delisted from the privatisation list and the proposal be placed before CCOP. Now, the CCoP would decide the fate of these properties.