ISLAMABAD - Opposing the privatisation of State life Insurance Corporation (SLIC), the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce on Tuesday decided to start a consultative process to address concerns of all the stakeholders.

The committee members had gathered to discuss the State life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) (Re-Organisation and Conversion) Bill, 2016. Secretary Ministry of Commerce and SLIC Chairperson Azmat Ranjha gave a detailed briefing on the bill.

Members of the committee opposed privatisation of the corporation, saying it was running in profit. They called for safeguarding interests of all the stakeholders and decided to start a consultative process for the purpose.

The secretary commerce dispelled the impression that the government was privatising the SLIC. “It is only divesting some of its shares,” he clarified.

“It has not been decided that how much shares will be divested,” he said and added that the deal would be unlike the privatisation of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL),” he added.

“The Etisalat, buyer of PTCL, is still holding $800 million of the government even 10 years after the deal due to the incompetence of the then government,” he added.

However, the senators were not convinced. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla insisted the government was going for privatisation of the corporation.

Adopting almost the same stance, Senator Ilyas Bilour said the government was privatising all profitable public sector entities.

The committee was informed that the organisation owned total 91 properties of different kinds; 79 percent of which was rented out while 21 percent was vacant.

The committee members questioned the logic behind leaving the space vacant and directed the authorities concerned to take appropriate steps to rent out the vacant area as early as possible.

The committee appreciated the goodwill gesture of the government, which dispatched 10000 MTs of rice to Wuhan province of China.

The Committee Chairman Senator Shibli Faraz remarked that Pakistan and China had supported each other in testing times.

Regarding Anti-Dumping Duties Bill, 2015, the committee pointed out the legislation had been done to make the National Tariff Commission more effective. However, members of the committee expressed their concern that NTC was not functioning properly and there was a need to make it more vibrant and effective.

It was pointed out that the local industry was complaining about malpractices and the import of Boron mixed iron rods. “Yet no proper action has been taken in this regard,” they noted.

Bilour said that used oil was being imported which was a serious heath hazard and the ministry needed to impose ban on its import.

Shibli Faraz said the Ministry had a crucial role in promoting healthy environment for commerce and trade, both at local and international level.

The meeting was attended among others by Senators Ilyas Ahmed Bilour , Karim Ahmad Khawaja , Mufti Abdus Sattar , Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar , Saleem Mandviwala , Haji Saifullah Khan Bangash and Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan.