The government has decided to speed up the privatisation of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and directed the Privatisation Commission to review the privatisation schedule so as to accelerate the process. An official said the privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Steel Mills, insurance companies, Utilities Stores Corporation, Power Distribution Companies and National Insurance Companies are on top of the privatisation priority list.
The official said that the Finance Minister was given a detailed briefing by the senior officials of the Privatisation Commission on Wednesday. He was briefed about various stages and timelines involved in privatisation process. Secretary Privatisation Commission Amjad Ali Khan informed the Finance Minister that 64 SOEs have yet to be privatised which were approved for privatisation by the previous government.
The Finance Minister accepted a proposal of the Privatisation Commission that while reconstituting the boards of SOEs, one member of the Board should be the nominee of the Privatisation Commission. The minister directed that the schedule should be reviewed and made more realistic so that privatisation could be moved on fast track basis.
The Finance Minister said that privatisation of SOEs should be carried out on fast track basis without compromising on rules and regulations and in a transparent manner. He further directed the Privatisation Commission to identify those state owned entities that can be privatised in the first stage.
Secretary Privatisation Commission also briefed the Finance Minister on the progress made so far in the transfer of properties to Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL). An official of the Finance Ministry said the Privatisation Commission is working as to how many properties out of total 131 could be transferred to the PTCL. The Finance Minister had directed the Privatisation Commission to resolve the issue of properties transfer to Etisalat within 10 days subsequent to a meeting with a delegation of the company for early materialisation of budgeted $800 million.
Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Privatisation Commission were also present at the meeting. The official said that the Etisalat delegation had also raised the issue of grey trafficking during their meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and State Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rehman. They were assured by the Finance Minister that their concerns would be addressed.