PTI govt to fetch Rs150b from sale of six state units

Minister says global companies are participating in privatisation process

APP January 30, 2020
Special Assistant to PM Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government was determined to carry out transparent and profitable privatisation of state-owned enterprises. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government would earn Rs150 billion in non-tax revenue from the privatisation of six loss-making public sector enterprises (PSEs) by June 30, announced Federal Minister for Privatisation Muhammad Mian Soomro.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the minister said the six entities were Sind Engineering, SME Bank, Guddu power plant, Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), First Women Bank Limited and Jinnah Convention Centre.

“Government is committed to pushing ahead with its privatisation programme by completing all targeted transactions within the stipulated time - by the end of this financial year,” he said. “It is after a gap of 10 years that strategic sale of public entities is being initiated in the country by the current government.”

He added that renowned world companies were participating in the privatisation programme, which depicted the restoration of confidence in government policies for investment in the country.

He pointed out that companies from Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Malaysia had expressed interest in the privatisation process.

The minister said the government also intended to sell around 27 real-estate properties, which would be placed for auction within two months. “Initially, the government intended to privatise the loss-making enterprises,” he said.

The minister revealed that the restructuring of PSM was among the top priorities for which financial advisers had already been hired.

In addition to that, the government also intended to privatise SME Bank, which was enduring losses, while the sale of Guddu power plant and Sind Engineering was also on the cards.

“Secondly, the government will focus on those enterprises which have the ability to earn but due to some reason, are not earning,” he said. “Such companies will be restructured through public-private partnership.”

He said efficacy and transparency would be ensured in the process of privatising the state-owned enterprises.

Privatisation Commission Secretary Rizwan Malik, on the occasion, disclosed that the government wanted to include six to seven PSEs in the active privatisation plan while another 10 enterprises had been placed in the next phase.

“Companies from all over the world including the European Union, the Middle East, Japan and South Korea had shown interest in the privatisation of local entities.”

Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government was determined to carry out transparent and profitable privatisation of state-owned enterprises.

Privatisation of such state units was the top priority of Prime Minister Imran Khan and the process had again started under the leadership of privatisation minister after the last phase which took place in 2018, she added.

“The prime minister wants to privatise the sick industrial units which have become a burden on the public exchequer,” she said. “Privatisation will help lessen the problems of inflation and unemployment and the revenues generated from it will be invested in public welfare.”

Awan said some properties of the federal government would be transferred to Pakistan Housing Authority so that affordable houses could be constructed on them.

Activity in the construction sector would uplift 42 allied industries besides creating job opportunities, wealth and providing shelter to the low-income people, she added.  

Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2020.

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