ISLAMABAD: The Board of Privatisation Commission (PC) on Monday unanimously approved the proposal for expediting the transaction-related matters of the National Power Parks Management Company Ltd (NPPMCL).

The PC board meeting, chaired by Minister for Privatisation Abid Hussain Bhayo, was apprised of the current status of the NPPMCL transaction, which is one of the major state-owned enterprises (SOE) on the active privatisation list.

Mr Bhayo, who chaired the first meeting of the PC board as chairman, emphasised that the government is committed to inviting much-needed private sector investment and expertise in the power sector.

In June, the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) constituted a sub-committee of stakeholders comprising ministries of finance and power, the PC and NPPMCL for the early resolution of matters in the realisation of the transaction.

The smooth flow of transaction was greatly impacted by the pandemic in 2020, when 12 parties were pre-qualified from across the world including Middle East, China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Europe and Pakistan.The meeting was informed that the privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills had come near completion with on-site visits and buyer-side due diligence from the pre-qualified investors. The potential investors had spent two weeks in Pakistan meeting senior government officials in Islamabad and visiting the PSM site.

The board was also informed about the overall progress of SOE privatisation, and members expressed gratitude for the progress made in the HBFCL privatisation and hoped that the process would be completed soon.

The PC Board’s approval was sought on a strategy to resolve different issues with Sindh Engineering Limited (SEL) and Pakistan Engineering Company (PECO) which have blocked their privatisation. It was briefed that the formation of the SEL Board and the appointment of a permanent MD will allow for the implementation of necessary privatisation decisions. The Board members proposed that the matter be placed before CCoP at its upcoming meeting.

The PC board was briefed about the current status of Jinnah Convention Centre (JCC) and was informed that the transaction was halted after board members of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) disagreed with the transaction structure approved for it.

The privatisation minister recently held a detailed meeting to sort out the matter with the CDA chairman, and it was mutually agreed that the PC would devise a viable layout plan for JCC. The commission will also revise the transaction structure in consultation with CDA. The PC board members endorsed the proposals and also recommended that the matter be placed before CCoP.

Matters relating to the Jinnah Convention Center (JCC), Sindh Engineering Limited (SEL), Pakistan Engineering Co (Peco), federal government properties and PSM were discussed in detail. The board members proposed that the privatisation of Peco, SEL and the sale of the remaining 16 properties of the federal government should be halted on account of inherent issues faced by these entities.

The Board emphasised that it was doing everything in its power to expedite the privatisation process but had not received the requisite support from the other concerned ministries and divisions to resolve the issues faced by these entities.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2022

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