ISLAMABAD - The government on Wednesday announced to complete privatization of six Public Sector Entities (PSEs) within the current fiscal year that would generate more than Rs150 billion that government had projected in the annual budget as privatization proceeds.

Federal Minister for Privatization Muhammad Mian Soomro said that the privatization process would be completed with transparency and efficiency. The government is following privatization ordinance, Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules, and past court judgments while carrying out the privatization of the state-owned entities, the minister said in a press conference along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan and Secretary Privatization Rizwan Malik.

The PSEs include SMEs bank, First Women Bank, two RLNG power plants including Haveli Bahadur Shah and Balloki, government’s 18.5 percent shares in Mari Petroleum Company Limited as well as Services International Hotel Lahore and Jinnah Convention Centre Islamabad. The government has also planned to sell up to 7 percent stakes of the Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) and 10 percent shares of Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL). 

Mian Soomro said that the government had received 12 bids for privatization of National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL). The NPPMCL owns the two power plants located at Balloki and Haveli Bahadur Shah, which have a combined generation capacity of 2,453 megawatts. He further said that investors from Japan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Pakistan had submitted documents. “This shows foreign investors are keen to invest in Pakistan,” he added.

Secretary Privatization said that the government had shortlisted six PSEs for privatization in December 2018. The government is all set to privatize these six PSEs by June 30, 2020. The government would generate more than Rs150 billion that the government had projected in the annual budget as privatization proceeds. The proceedings of the privatization will be utilized on debt servicing and public welfare projects. 

He also informed that the government has also decided to sell 27 government-owned unproductive properties through an open auction by March or April this year. The government had already held roadshows for attracting investors for these 27 properties. Foreign investors from Dubai and Qatar and overseas Pakistanis had expressed interest in buying the properties, he said.

Rizwan Malik said that the government has planned to revive the Pakistan Steel Mills through investment from strategic investors, which would help in reducing the losses of mills. Similarly, the government is also working to control the financial bleeding of other PSEs. On a question about the slow process in the privatization program, Secretary said that privatization takes time for ensuring efficiency as well as transparency. He informed that the government is working on privatization of 18 PSEs, and financial advisers for 14 had been appointed by following PPRA rules and Privatization ordinance. He hoped that Pakistan would resolve the issues of pending amount against privatization of PTCL with the UAE based company Estisalat in the next few months.

Rizwan Malik said that the government has also decided to transfer three government-owned unproductive properties to Naya Pakistan Housing scheme. In her remarks, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said the non-functional government institutions would be privatized to make them functional.