• Outsourcing of these properties will be made under SIFC guidance
• 40pc of profit will go to provincial govt

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caretaker government is set to lease out 17 motels of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation to a military entity for a period of 30 years claiming 40 per cent share in their profits.

The lease proposal was approved by the provincial cabinet in its meeting on Feb 6 to “outsource these properties [motels] to a government-owned company,” according to a government statement.

The federal government had handed over 17 motels and two tracts of lands meant for setting up such motels to the KP government in March 2022 in line with the devolution under the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

The provincial government earlier said the outsourcing of those properties would be made under the guidance of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).

Minutes of the provincial cabinet’s meeting available with Dawn reveal that the secretary of the culture, tourism and archaeology department informed the cabinet that the provincial government had received a request from the Green Tourism, a company registered under the Companies Act, 2017, and a 100pc government-owned entity, for leasing 17 PTDC properties.

Regarding the terms and conditions under which these properties will be handed over to the entity, the minutes said the provincial government’s share was set at 40pc of their net profit.

They added that the profit share in question was 32pc in Punjab and 35pc in Gilgit-Baltistan.

“Moreover, the provincial government shall not bear any loss incurred by the company,” the minutes read.

They also said the grace period of four years as proposed in the agreements shared with other provincial governments was reduced from three to four years depending on the nature and status of the property.

To oversee the operations of these properties, a joint management board comprising five members from each side will be formed with co-opted members. Besides, all structural interventions will also be carried out in due compliance with local by-laws and other applicable laws to preserve the environment and heritage of the properties.

The minutes said the law department opined that Rule 3(2)C permitted direct sourcing to public sector organisation, which may either be totally owned and controlled by the government or may be semi-autonomous and autonomous agencies under the administrative control of federal or provincial governments.

“Since Green Tourism remains under the federal government, there exists no legal impediment in the way of grant of lease to the same on government to government basis,” the minutes read.

The minutes said that the advocate general while endorsing the opinion of the law department insisted that legal analysis of the law department was in consonance with the juridical precedents, provisions of the KP Public Procurement of Goods, Works and Services Rules, 2014.

It said that the cabinet approved the direct leasing/outsourcing of 17 PTDC properties under Rule 3(2)c of KP Public Procurement Regulatory Authority Procurement Rules, 2014, Green Tourism for a 30 years period on the terms and conditions proposed by the administration department.

Documents show that 17 motels and two plots of land value more than 10.112 billion and are located in Naran, Balakot, Chattar Plain, Ayubia, Booni, Bumburet, Garam Chashma, Mastuj, Chitral, Birmogh Lasht, Saidu Sharif, Besham, Miandam, Baran Kallay, Kalam, Chakdarra, Panakot and Torkham.

The documentsshow that the PTDC motel in Naran has 60 huts and spread over an area of 160 kanals while the motel in Besham area of Swat had 47 rooms and spread over 16 kanals of land.

When contacted, culture and tourism minister Barrister Feroze Shah Jamal Kakakhel confirmed the development and said the government was going to sign the motels lease agreement with the Green Tourism.

He said the Green Tourism was owned by the army and would function under the SIFC.

The minister said that the majority of those motels were currently closed and didn’t generate any revenue.

“I found the PTDC motel in Naran to be shut during my visit to the area and made it functional,” he said.

Mr Kakakhel said handing the motels over to a government-owned company would save those motels from mismanagement as they required proper management.

To a question as to why the caretaker government is making such decisions of lasting impact, he said, “one needs not worry while doing things in good faith.”

A search on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s official website shows that the Green Tourism was registered at the Company Registration Office in Islamabad on Jan 26, 2024.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2024

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