ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Privatisation was informed on Thursday that the transaction of Jinnah Convention Centre (JCC) was put on hold after the Capital Development Authority (CDA) changed its stance regarding the facility.
The CDA objected to JCC’s sale on the plea that it could not be converted from amenity to commercial as per the regulations. The objection from CDA came at a time when the Privatisation Commission (PC) was close to completing the JCC transaction.
The Senate body asked the Standing Committee on Interior to deliberate on the issue of the JCC since the CDA comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior. The CDA has now been asked to clarify the matter before the committee. The decision of the CDA has created confusion for the investors and the matter has been brought to the attention of the prime minister, a PC spokesperson said.
The member of CDA looking after the planning and development and other officials were not responding to the queries of PC which was seeking CDA’s future plans for the convention centre, the spokesperson said.
The PC spokesperson said CDA had issued the no objection certificate (NOC) to the commission for the privatisation of the convention centre and had been part of the transaction committee of the commission.
The Board of CDA at its recent meeting had taken some important decisions concerning the JCC. According to the PC spokesperson, minutes of the meeting were not shared with the commission.
The CDA board decided that the existing foot print area may be kept intact; parking area and amenity area spread over an area of 3.46-acre should not be converted from amenity to commercial as per CDA regulations. CDA auctions its own plots on lease basis to successful bidders of commercial auctions, therefore the instant lease of JCC may be transferred; and PC’s plan for sewerage treatment plant, solid waste management system, water supply system, separate grid station, electric supply system and traffic impact survey for future use of JCC area should be shared with CDA to avoid any future complications, the authority maintained.
The board decided that a summary of CDA decisions on the JCC should be placed before the federal cabinet for consideration before finalisation of the transaction of JCC. It may be recalled that the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) had approved the transaction structure of JCC in July 2020. The decision of CCoP was subsequently ratified by the federal cabinet two months later. Following the cabinet’s approval, PC wrote to the interior ministry to submit a formal request to CDA for making necessary changes in allotment letter so that the sale of JCC property could be undertaken in a timely manner.
Privatisation Minister Mohammadmian Soomro informed the standing committee that the matter relating to the sale of Services International Hotel was pending till the submission of a report by the aviation ministry to the federal cabinet regarding the determination of height and subsequent issuance of NOC for the final cabinet decision.
The committee formed by the cabinet has been tasked to present the report within two weeks. The hotel has been auctioned for over Rs1.95 billion by PC.
The standing committee was also informed about the transaction progress of National Power Parks (NPPMCL) which has been delayed on account of sectoral issuance and Covid-19 pandemic. However, now the transaction was steadily moving towards completion.
Meanwhile, PC held a meeting to discuss issues concerning the revival of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). The meeting was informed that the ‘scheme of arrangement’ with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan was under process and will be finalised by mid-November after the provision of requisite information along with updated financial report of PSM up to October 2021, duly approved by the PSM board.
Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2021