Feb 18, 2009
PRIVATIZATION TO TAKE UP AGAIN
The government approved on Tuesday its privatisation policy envisaging sale of 26 per cent shares of 21 state-owned enterprises “modelled around the concept of public-private partnership” and decided to scrap the previous government’s policy of strategic sales. The policy, approved by the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCOP) headed by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin, will ensure transparency and take necessary safeguards to maximise documentation in line with the Privatisation Commission’s Ordinance. The government has excluded Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and the Qadirpur Gas field from the proposed list of entities to be privatised ostensibly because of workers’ pressure. The policy enhances workers’ share from 10 per cent to 12 per cent obviously to win their support in future privatisation. Privatisation Minister Naveed Qamar said the objective of the policy was not to generate revenue to correct the balance of payment problem. “We will pursue our privatisation policy and it is not linked to generation of proceeds but with improving performance of state entities,” he said. After an improvement in the rating of these entities, the minister said, further transactions could be considered. He did not say if the government would have the powers to reverse the privatisation process. He said the privatisation of Pakistan Railways would bring about positive changes and revive the ailing organisation. He said the post office would be converted into postal banks under the new policy. Earlier, the meeting approved the privatisation of SME Bank, National Power Construction Company, Heavy Electrical Complex, Pakistan Machine Tool Factory, PTDC Motels and Restaurants, the USC, Pakistan Post and Kot Addu Power Company besides Pakistan Railways.