All state-owned enterprises to be privatised: PM

Published May 15, 2024
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chairs a review meeting on privatisation on Tuesday.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chairs a review meeting on privatisation on Tuesday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to privatise all state-owned enterprises (SOEs), except strategic entities.

“The government would privatise all state-owned enterprises, excluding the strategic ones, regardless of their profitability or financial losses,” it was revealed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while presiding over a high-level meeting.

The meeting reviewed matters related to the Ministry of Privatisation and Privatisation Commission.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, PM Shehbaz directed all the federal ministries to carry out the necessary procedures and extend their cooperation with the Privatisation Commission for the purpose.

Directs routing proportion of imports through Gwadar port

During the meeting, the privatisation ministry and the commission presented a roadmap for the Privatisation Programme 2024-29.

“The government has nothing to do with running the businesses but was mandated to facilitate the investors,” an official press release quoted the PM as saying.

The prime minister viewed that the privatisation of SOEs would save the taxpayers’ money to help the government provide quality services to the people.

Reiterating the government’s commitment to a transparent process, he directed live telecast of the bidding and other procedures of the privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and other entities.

During the briefing on the progress in the SOEs’ privatisation, the participants were told that the pre-qualification process for PIA privatisation would be completed by the end of this month. The consultation for privatisation of PIA’s Roose­velt Hotel in the United States was underway and the government-to-government transaction of First Women Bank was in process with the United Arab Emirates.

The meeting was told that power distribution companies had been included in the 2024-29 Privatisation Programme and the privatisation of loss-making SOEs would be prioritised.

The participants were told that a pre-qualified panel of experts would be appointed at the Planning Commission for a swift and transparent privatisation process.

Federal ministers Khawaja Asif, Muha­mmad Aurangzeb, Jam Kamal Khan, Awais Ahmed Leghari, Abdul Aleem Khan, Dr Musaddik Malik and Ahad Khan Cheema, PM’s coordinator Rana Ehsan Afzal, and relevant senior officers attended the meeting.

Imports through Gwadar port

Presiding over a separate meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took a significant decision to make Gwadar port fully functional and effective, directing the authorities concerned to ensure routing a proportion of the country’s imports, particularly related to the government, through the port.

The prime minister gave stern instructions that he will not tolerate any delay and leniency in implementation of the second phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“Pakistan-China economic relations are on their height these days all government ministries and officials must take advantage of it and get maximum benefit from it for both countries,” the PM said.

The meeting also stressed the need for improving security of Chinese nationals working in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2024

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