SIH sell off fetches  Rs1.95 billion

ISLAMABAD   –  The PTI-led government on Thursday successfully completed its first privatisation by auctioning of Services International Hotel (SIH) located in the provincial capital of Punjab at a highest bid of Rs1.95 billion. 

Ministry of Privatisation on Thursday auctioned Services International Hotel (SIH) located in the provincial capital at a highest bid of Rs 1,951,718,500 against reserved price of Rs 1,949,718,500. Renowned real estate developer, Faisal Town Pvt Ltd is the successful bidder which assured that the remaining price would be deposited within stipulated time. 

SIH is the first transaction for the PTI government which has completed three years of its tenure. The present government’s agenda of privatisation is moving at a snail’s pace. The SIH is centrally located in Upper Mall Lahore and spread over an area of more than 15 kanals. SIH is among the 19 public sector entities on the list of the active privatisation programme of the government.

Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro chaired the auction process at a local hotel while Federal Secretary Hassan Nasir Jamy, Director General Privatization Muhammad Shamim Khan and others were present on the occasion. 

On the occasion, Muhammad Mian Soomro said that on the direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan the auction process of state owned properties was being carried out in a transparent manner in the country. He said the government had a plan to privatize all public sector departments which were running in loss, adding that under the plan, Pakistan Steel Mill, Mari Petroleum , Jinnah Convention Centre Islamabad, SME Bank, First Women Bank, PPL, Guddu Power Plant,  Heavy Electrical Complex ( HEC), and other power companies were being privatized. The federal minister said the privatization was being carried out as per the plan and Privatization Ordinance, adding that the main purpose of auction was to reduce the burden of debt retirement the country.

He said the government had to face some financial problems due to COVID-19, adding the government was now on road to progress and the exports of the country were increasing. To a question, he said that today it was the success of the ministry that it incurred more than the base price of Services International Hotel, adding the government believed in merit and transparency in the auction process of state owned properties. To another question, the federal minister said the process of privatisation of Balloki Power, Bahadur Shah (NPPMCL) plants was delayed due to COVID-19, because the international investors demanded to visit the plant physically, which was not possible owing to the travel advisory restrictions, but now the matter is on track again and transaction would be completed within prescribed time. Regarding the privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills(PSMC), Mohammed Mian Soomro said that the EoIs for investors regarding the Steel Mills would be invited soon. 

The Privatisation Commission had already decided that privatisation of two public sector entities, Services International Hotel Lahore and Jinnah Convention Centre Islamabad, would be completed by the end of current year (2021). The government, which is facing delay in completion of privatization programme mainly due to the technical issues, has announced to complete the privatisation of two PSEs by the end of current year (December 2021).

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