ISLAMABAD: Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar said on Friday that the government would limit its business only to strategic and essential state-owned entities (SoEs) under its domain, but their number will be reduced from 40 after scrutiny.

Chairing the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) meeting, Mr Dar said privatisation of loss-making SoEs would be a priority.

However, the profit-making SoEs could be considered for divestment.

The meeting was attended by the ministers of finance, commerce, privatisation, industries, and production, the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, the SECP chairman, and the federal secretaries.

Privatisation ministry directed to finalise list of loss-making entities

The meeting noted that 40 SoEs are currently categorised as strategic or essential, but respective ministries will submit their details to the Cabinet Committee on State-Owned Enterprises (CCoSOE).

The CCoSOE will determine the status of the SoEs to be categorised as strategic or essential entities.

The cabinet committee also directed all ministries and divisions to take up their cases of strategic and essential SOEs with CCoSOE as soon as possible so that a comprehensive phased privatisation programme could be finalised at the next meeting of CCoP.

The privatisation programme will include SOEs that are not categorised as strategic or essential.

The meeting also reviewed 84 SOEs for divestment and emphasised that, in light of the SOE Act and Policy, even profitable SOEs would be considered for privatisation.

The Ministry of Privatisation presented CCoP with a phased Privatisation Programme 2024-29 based on the recommendations of the PC Board.

The CCoP directed the Ministry of Privatisation to consult the respective ministries and deliberate the rationale for not including 18 loss-making SOEs in the programme.

The CCoP also directed the privatisation ministry to submit the consultation outcome in its next meeting.

The CCoP approved the names of 24 entities for the privatisation programme, in-principle, for the time being but directed Ministry of Privatisation to deliberate the phasing of each entity in consultation with the respective Ministries.

The cabinet committee also considered the proposal to transfer 322.46 million shares of OGDCL from the Privatisation Commission’s CDC account to the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division).

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2024

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