February 2020




Amin Ahmed February 26, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The outbreak of novel coronavirus is likely to delay government’s privatisation programme as participation of foreign investors particularly Chinese in the bidding process seems doubtful, sources close to the Privatisation Commission told Dawn on Tuesday.

The government is working to privatise five public sector entities by June this year. It plans to privatise a total of eighteen entities in the first phase of the privatisation programme. Investors from Japan, Thailand and China are among the twelve companies which have qualified for the privatisation of two RLNG-based power plants.

The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak of coronavirus as a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ based on the advice of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations, and has issued travel advisory.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) held a meeting on Tuesday and gave directions to the commission to complete all standard requirements in a regular but expeditious manner.

Chinese, Russian and Japanese investors have shown interest in setting up joint ventures in Pakistan Steel Mills.

Privatisation Minister, Muhammadmian Soomro has said the steel mills is so far out of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor framework but if Chinese investors show interest, the government may review the decision.

The divestment of the Oil and Gas Development Company Ltd shares also came up for discussion during the CCoP meeting, and it was agreed that the matter requires further deliberation.

The committee directed all relevant stakeholders including the Ministry of Energy to come up with a presentation on the proposal in the next meeting.

The Privatisation Commission briefed the committee on the proposal of privatising 747MW Guddu Power Plant. The commission has received expression of interest from financial advisers and parties have been shortlisted for issuance of request for proposals.

The CCoP noted that there is a need for further discussion on the project between the National Elec­tric and Power Regulatory Authority, Power Division and the ministries of finance and privatisation.

The committee directed the departments to come up with a joint proposal in the next meeting so that the transaction may be completed within the given time frame.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2020




Amin Ahmed February 21, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Privatisation has approved amendments to the Privatisation Commission Ordinance 2000.

The details of the amendments — approved by the standing committee on Wednesday — were released by the Privatisation Commission on Thursday. The amendments will facilitate the Privatisation Commission to open accounts in any of the high rating banks identified by the State Bank, and meet the deadline and eschew unnecessary delay. The ordinance will now go forth for approval of the National Assembly.

During deliberations at the standing committee meeting, it was suggested that the Privatisation Commission should be allowed to open its accounts due to the urgency of its work.

The proposed amendments will empower the prime minister to appoint chairman, secretary or any board member of the Privatisation Commission. The prime minister may appoint special medical board regarding the health of the chairman, secretary or any board member of the commission.

The committee also discussed the leasing of Roosevelt Hotel owned by PIA in New York, and it was proposed by the chairman of standing committee, that all stakeholders and senior officials from PIA, Aviation Division, Privatisation Commission and members from PIA subsidiary investment company to be present at the next meeting of the committee to brief and discuss the status of Roosevelt Hotel in detail.

The Cabinet Committee on Privatisation in its meeting in November last year had approved the formulation of the task force for business plan of the Roosevelt Hotel and also formulation of terms of reference to that effect, and the same was ratified by the federal cabinet in December. However, further work on this task is halted due to the absence of CEO of PIA and pending litigation.

Minister for Privatisation, Muhammadmian Soomro later told newsmen that the government will privatise five public sector enterprises by June this year. Eighteen public sector enterprises will be privatised in the first phase of the government’s privatisation programme, and financial advisers have been appointed for sixteen PSEs so far.

Mr Soomro said that the process of bidding of the two RLNG power plants will be completed in three months, after which the privatisation process of remaining PSEs will be completed one by one each month.

He said that the hurdles in the way of privatisation of RLNG power plants were being removed, and PPRA rules and guidelines of Supreme Court were also being implemented. The privatisation minister said that SME bank, Services Hotel and the First Women Bank will also be privatised.

About delay in the privatisation of RLNG-based power plants, he said that the government has to sell these plants and would be ready for demerger in case any buyer is interested. There will be no loss if both the plants are sold to one bidder or separately.

Regarding Pakistan Steel Mills, the privatisation minister said that financial adviser for this transaction will be appointed soon.

Chinese, Russian and Japanese investors have expressed their interest for joint ventures, he added.

The Steel Mills is so far out of the CPEC framework but if Chinese investors show interest, the decision can be reviewed, he said.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2020




IRSAHD ANSARI February 7, 2020

ISLAMAB. The privatization ministry and the Punjab government have agreed to remove hindrances in privatization process of the Haveli Bahadur Shah Power Plant and the Balloki Power Plant, including conversion of land, relevant laws and other legal constraints.

A meeting at the Civil Secretariat in Lahore on Thursday, co-chaired by Privatization Minister Muhammadmian Soomro and Punjab Law Minister Basharat Raja, agreed to form several subcommittees for the redressal of the issues in this regard.

Soomro came to Lahore on Thursday to discuss the privatization of the power plants with the Punjab

minister. He also visited the LDA offices and National Power Parks Management Company (NPMC).

The meeting at the Civil Secretariat was attended by Additional Privatization Secretary Khaqan Babar, Additional Punjab Chief Secretary Shaukat Ali, Punjab Secretary Irrigation Syed Ali Murtaza, LDA director general and other officers.

The participants discussed the commercialization of private and agricultural properties, conversion fees in Rahimyar Khan, Balloki and Haveli Bahadur Shah and other areas and appropriate amendments to the local government and the LDA rules.

It was informed during the meeting that the site plan approval was needed before starting the conversion of any property. The participants agreed that conversion fees should be fixed to facilitate the investors.

Soomro called for speeding up and simplifying the privatization process of the Haveli Bahadur Shah Power Plant, Balloki Power Plant and other assets. He said that the Punjab government’s cooperation with the Federal Privatization Board was commendable.

Raja told the meeting that the Punjab cabinet had approved the LDA Land Use Rules 2019, LDA Land Use Rules 2014 and the Private Housing Schemes Rules 2014 for power plants to speed up the privatization process.

During his visit to the NPPMC, the privatization minister held a meeting to review privatization process of Haveli Bahadur Shah and Balloki Power Plant. He was informed about various aspects of a Visualization Database Room (VDR), which would go online from Friday (today).